By RAW No, not since the errata to the Ranger Companion feature.
Going strictly by RAW any creature can take any actions it wishes from the actions available to all creatures, regardless of awakened status and regardless of the Ranger Companion class feature. Unless, something says it can't:
When a monster takes its action, it can choose from the options in the
Actions section of its stat block or use one of the actions available
to all creatures, such as the Dash or Hide action, as described in the
Player’s Handbook. (- Monster Manual)
The Ranger Companion class feature doesn't actually say the animal can't take actions on it's own. Here are the relevant parts of the feature:
The beast obeys your commands as best as it can. It takes its turn on
your initiative. On your turn, you can verbally command the beast
where to move (no action required by you). You can use your action to
verbally command it to take the Attack, Dash, Disengage, or Help
action. If you don't issue a command, the beast takes the Dodge
action. Once you have the Extra Attack feature, you can make one
weapon attack yourself when you command the beast to take the Attack
If you are incapacitated or absent, the beast acts on its own,
focusing on protecting you and itself. The beast never requires your
command to use its reaction, such as when making an opportunity
While traveling through your favored terrain with only the beast, you
can move stealthily at a normal pace.
Compare this to the alternate class feature in Tasha's:
In combat, the beast acts during your turn. It can move and use its
reaction on its own, but the only action it takes is the Dodge action,
unless you take a bonus action on your turn to command it to take
another action. That action can be one in its stat block or some other
action. You can also sacrifice one of your attacks when you take the
Attack action to command the beast to take the Attack action. If you
are incapacitated, the beast can take any action of its choice, not
Note that the new feature explicitly disallows all actions other than the commanded one and dodge. At a first glance you may think the original feature does this as well but it doesn't - instead it forces the creature to dodge if you don't issue a command at all. This is important because "move" is a command, and it takes no action to issue - if you command the beast to move it no longer has to dodge, and nothing at all stops it from acting of its own initiative. Move is the only command you can issue which takes neither your action, nor the beast's, so it leaves you both with an open action on your turns.
There is at least some reason to believe this is intentional, and that WotC tried to make it so that Awakened beasts would work better for rangers, while allowing non-awakened beasts to have a default action. It's ham-handed, but consider the pre-errata version of this ability:
The beast obeys your commands as best it can. It takes its turn on
your initiative, though it doesn't take an action unless you command
That's right, the original version of this feature flat out prevented non-commanded actions, and the errata removed that text. For some reason, people have continued to treat it like it still exists, but that's not the case.
The only issue is that an unawakened animal can't really take advantage of this, it's not smart enough. Not by RAW, but practically speaking no DM is likely to allow it. Awaken gets around that - yes you have to tell the animal to move each turn, but if you do it is otherwise able to act intelligently of its own free will.
Some other things to consider:
- Look at the last line of the original feature and tell me how it makes sense if the beast is unable to take the Hide action (not one of the listed commands). You literally cannot command the beast to hide, so either it's incapable of making stealth checks or it's able to hide on its own (presumably while moving stealthily).
- Some other answers have mentioned that awakening a beast gives it it's own turn, but that's not accurate, as it already has it's own turn (it's just on your initiative count, meaning you can choose to have it go before or after you the same as a controlled mount - though only after makes sense). As a side note, if you look at the level 7 ability - by RAW the beast never attacks on your turn, it attacks on it's turn, so the bonus action is always able to be taken.
- This is exactly the same logic that allows Familiars to take actions other than attacking (Help, Hide, etc). Same for Steeds summoned with Find Steed.
- Being awakened does not prevent a creature from being a Ranger Companion as some of the answers here suggest, the only requirement there is that they be a beast of CR 1/4 or lower (Awaken does not increase CR, see the DMG for things that do increase CR). An Awakened beast is still subject to all the clauses in the Ranger Companion feature (such as trying to obey your commands as best it is able - but now it can understand those commands better.)
- The beastmaster features are absurdly poorly written.