My hunter in the new World of Darkness is exploring training animals, especially attack dogs. I know the basic rules for training and controlling them, but I am curious as to the acceptable limits to this system. In particular:
EDIT: For the dogs themselves, my ST agreed to just use the basic dog in the core book for simplicity, and I am training them as if they were rescues, so no prior training at all.
1) What tricks are reasonable? With Storyteller approval, I am thinking of Basics (sit, lie down, heel, etc.), Hold (attempt to grapple target, then attempt to render prone), Joint Attack (using the Wolf Pack merit rules), and either Tracking or Surround (cut off escape routes and keep grapple attack prepared for escapees).
EDIT: For more questionable tricks (like Joint Attack), I would appreciate substitution ideas for teamwork tactics with the dogs (Thanks, Ahriman!). A replacement I am thinking of would be Pack Combat or Group Training (different name, same thing), which would be training specifically to apply other commands while in a group.
2) How many dogs could a character reasonably control? RP-wise, my character has a natural affinity for dogs (he is secretly Wolf-Blooded, but that is just a flavor thing rather than mechanical) and I want his dogs to be a subconscious pack for him. I know that most of the time he will be limited to one or two dogs, but what about during open operations? For example, could he control 8 dogs if he is in a large area with both line-of-sight and hearing?
EDIT: When using the larger groups of dogs, I intend for the commands to be given on a pack scale rather than individually, and they would have been trained in a group for those maneuvers. (Thanks Ahriman and Eimyr)
3) I have been treating commanding the dogs as an instant action. With training, would it be reasonable to teach a dog to act as an incidental? It would be more for one or two special canines that he is especially connected with it, where he would train them to obey with short commands (probably with a penalty for not visually indicating the command).
4) How would I handle using dogs as an intimidation tool? I would presume it'd be a teamwork roll, but how many dogs could it work with? My thought at this point is a limit of two, but I would like to hear what other STs think.
5) Can a dog immobilize a target as an overpowering action in a grapple? If not could several (like a different one grabbing each limb and pulling apart)?
Thanks to everyone who answers in advance!