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One of the possible patches you can find on a Robe of Useful Items is "2 mastiffs".

Robe of Useful Items

Does the player who places the mastiff patch get to command them after they come into existence? Or do they act like any other normal dog you've never met before, requiring successful Animal Handling checks to get under control?

Bonus question: Do they exist forever?

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No RAW exists, I've checked the Sage Advice and DMG Errata, it seems it is entirely up to your DM to decide.

If you are the DM, make a ruling that you think would be the most fun for your game. I personally have been allowing my players to control the mastiffs without issue, but our games tend to focus on tactical combat, and it hasn't really broken the game as much as the insta-1000gp patch did.

Bonus answer: They don't last forever, they die a natural death after 8 or so years. There is Errata for the duration of creatures summoned with a Bag of Tricks but none for the Robe, so presumably, they don't disappear, much like the gems from the 1000gp patch don't.

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    \$\begingroup\$ If the mastiffs were not friendly to you and did what you said they wouldn't be very "useful" although conversely they would not be "items" either. I did actually post this question to Crawford on Twitter... responses don't come very often but we will see. \$\endgroup\$ – Slagmoth Mar 7 '18 at 15:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ Only the items are useful, the dogs... not so much. \$\endgroup\$ – daze413 Mar 7 '18 at 15:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ Free meat in a pinch. \$\endgroup\$ – Slagmoth Mar 7 '18 at 15:07
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Since players can purchase mastiffs as equipment (25gp ea.), I have previously handled these exactly the same as purchased mastiffs: they are trained (generally following the owner's wishes), and age normally.

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