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Two part question, though both related -

  • What is the best method of keeping my pet "happy"

For this, I mean, how do I keep my pet from wandering off and either becoming feral or getting killed somewhere off in the distance? In the early game, my character generally doesn't come across tripe rations or anything else that my pet would consider a treat (I start as a Valkyrie normally). Normally I try to keep up with it, but sometimes it just disappears off into the wilderness, and then I have a sad feeling for a moment, but it passes...

  • In keeping my pet happy, how do I ensure it levels up with me?

Is there a good method of leveling your pet? I have seem my kitty grow to become ferocious once or twice, but it seems that happened by a stroke of luck, and not from any effort of my own. Obviously I'd like to have a fierce pet to help defend me throughout the game!

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2 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Treats are only necessary for apport, to my recollection. When it comes to just preventing it from slaughtering you in a confused rage, you just need to make sure it is well fed in general. Remember, pets get more sustenance from food than you do, so they don't need to eat quite as often but they still do need to eat.

To keep it from wandering away, just stick with it more often. If you want the pet to assist you, it is far more useful to simply stay in its presence than it is to let it wander off. If you see it gone, go after it. It does result in a lot of chasing, but early on this is basically the only method to keep it around. Hopefully, you stumble upon a magic whistle at some point that will basically solve all of your wandering pet issues.

Consequently, to ensure it levels up, stick around with it and let it get the finishing blows on monsters you fight. Specifically, the early parts of the dungeon are extremely good for a class like the Valkyrie. You have the standing power to let your kitten or puppy take down most or even all monsters in the first two dungeon levels without being severely hampered. If you simply let it take care of all of the monsters, it will become very beefy and much more suited to survive even when it wanders away.

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Absolutely; if I want to keep my pet around for a while in a game (which isn't all the time; as a Valk I generally just abandon it), I go out of my way to not kill all of the grid bugs, newts, and other 1XP monsters running around in the early game; it's much better to let your pet gain the HP from killing them and get your XP from the harder monsters. –  Wooble Feb 11 '11 at 17:35
    
good tip as well –  espais Feb 11 '11 at 21:00
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In addition to what Grace Note said, it's also important to note that your pet will keep closer to you if you carry a tripe ration. So if you find your first tripe ration, don't feed it to your pet, but keep it.

Also as far as tools go: In addition to magic whistles, which are the most useful, you can also find a leash. However these are somewhat cumbersome to use as you can't move too far away from your pet or you'll choke it. Also make sure a leash is not cursed before using it.

Another tool that is useful for keeping pets is a stethoscope (or a wand of probing, but those have limited charges). It allows you to keep track of your pets progress (every time a pet kills a monster, it gains one point of maximum HP, so if you look at the pet's Max HP you see how many monsters it has killed). It also allows you to see when the pet is weak and you should take charge of the fighting for a while (or heal it).

Speaking of: for healers (which start with a stethoscope) it's an excellent tactic to just let your pet (or pets) do your fighting for you and heal them when they're weak (using the stethoscope to find out when that is). This way they will quickly grow strong.

This is also a good way to pull of the protection racket as it allows you not to level up and still somewhat safely make your way to minetown (though if you do this you should quaff your potions to get your HP to a point where you can't easily be one-hit-killed). This also has the upside that your pet will definitely be strong once you reach minetown, having done all your fighting for you.

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