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I'm trying to make a druid, with an animal companion. I'm at the part where I'm deciding what skills he'll be trained in (2 at first level).

From the SRD:

Animal Skills

Animal companions can have ranks in any of the following skills:

Acrobatics* (Dex), Climb* (Str), Escape Artist (Dex), Fly* (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Perception* (Wis), Stealth* (Dex), Survival (Wis), and Swim* (Str).

All of the skills marked with an (*) are class skills for animal companions. Animal companions with an Intelligence of 3 or higher can put ranks into any skill.

Since he has an Int of 2, he can only be trained in skills from that list.

Does this restrict him from being able to use other non-listed skills (Ex: Sense Motive)? If yes, does this restriction get lifted if his Int gets higher than 2 (allowing him access to train in those other skills)?

I feel like it's no and he can use them, since skills are specifically listed as being usable (or not usable) if the being is Untrained in the skill. On the other hand, the text for "Push" an Animal (subset of Handle Animal) to do a trick/task it isn't trained for avoids using the word skill (ie, does a skill fall under "task"?), though I'm not sure if that applies to my question very well.

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Your 'side' questions really deserve to be questions of their own (the first one belonging on Meta since it relates to what you can and cannot do on the site itself), though you can also always ask them in chat. –  Lord_Gareth Feb 11 '13 at 4:16
    
@Lord I'll probably ask in chat. Asking why Survival isn't an animals class skill seems a little tiny to be asked in it's own question. Thanks. –  Hydronium Feb 11 '13 at 18:14
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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Your animal companion, like any other creature, can attempt to use any skill that does not specifically forbid its use without training, and does so just as any other creature does. However, its ability to do so may be restricted by its lack of training (such as in the case of Knowledge skills), and/or its lack of ability to communicate (such as in the case of Diplomacy). As well, there may be circumstance bonuses or penalties (there's a section on those in the core books) that apply, and I'd consider it highly likely that your DM may choose to make house rules about skills such as Craft, Spellcraft, etc.

For all future reference, the above considerations apply to anything with hit dice - they can try to use any skill that they're not specifically forbidden from using by either training or a creature trait (such as Mindless).

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I think I'd need a really good reason before letting an animal make a knowledge check, even an easy one. :) –  starwed Feb 11 '13 at 5:15
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Don't worry, there's limitations built into the Knowledge skill already that prevent animals with an Intelligence of less than three from making trained checks with them. As for those with intelligence more than three, I might point out that where I live, there are deer that won't run until they see you holding a weapon ~_^ –  Lord_Gareth Feb 11 '13 at 11:58
    
Sure, but even untrained checks is a bit of a stretch. Like, I question whether a badger should have a 25% chance of knowing the local laws, or who the current king is. :P –  starwed Feb 11 '13 at 13:35
    
Thanks Lord_Gareth, this clears it up. –  Hydronium Feb 11 '13 at 18:13
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