Carl's Sims 3 Guide - Skills, Traits, Careers, Rewards, and Lifetime Wishes for Ambitions and World Adventures

The Sims 3 Pets: Dogs Guide

Canine Companions: Hunting and Training

The Sims 3 Pets Guide
Pet LTRsPet TraitsUnicornsCatsDogsHorses
Minor PetsRacingHorsemanArc BuilderThe JockeyZoologist
The Sims 3 Pets: Learn all about dogs in our guide

Sims can at last have a canine companion around the home with The Sims 3 Pets expansion pack. This guide will teach you about dogs, how you can find one, and train it to be a well-mannered and helpful pet.

Getting a Dog
The most obvious choice for getting a dog is to make one in create-a-sim when creating a household. This allows you to make an adult male or female. You can then choose a dog breed to get started, or make your own custom dog. Dogs can be adopted by Sims using the computer or cell phone. Sims who are giving them away will also put an advertisement in the newspaper. You can see the home offering a pet on your map, indicated by an orange marker. The selection of pets will change a little each day, as pets find a home.

Of course, you can also come across strays. Sims can easily befriend and adopt a dog from the streets, if you can find one. If it has a last name, it likely belongs to another family. I have not found a way to get someone to give away their dog without cheats, but know that using testingcheatsenabled true and shift-clicking a pet will allow you to move it to your active household. It only works for cats, dogs, and horses.

The Sims 3 Pets: A black german shepherd tears into the couch. Bad dog!

Most popular dog breeds are offered in the game. You'd have to desire a pretty rare dog to find it unavailable. Breed does not really matter as far as gameplay is concerned, although it does ensure you get the product you'd expect when breeding dogs. Dogs do not have a value to Sims. They are not sold nor is there a market for studs or even cooperation between Sims in breeding them. Finding a particular breed of dog in town is no easy task, so if you want a beagle or golden retriever, you're going to want to make one from the start.

Dog Life
On normal lifespan, a dog is an adult for around 25 days. With the Animal Expert Lifetime reward it is increased by 50%. Dogs will turn to Elders, and will eventually die of old age. They can swim but will not drown. In fact, they'll teleport out of the pool before this ever happens. Their ghosts will be red or blue. You can stop this with the Pet Young Again reward, or even clone the dog. I doubt it is easy for them to get electrocuted. Life fruit nor ambrosia will restore a pet's life. The best you can do for them is fulfill their wishes so that they can afford one of the alternatives.

Dogs can be brought back as playable ghosts, and can make ghost puppies following the information on the Ghosts page.

The Sims 3 Pets: A dog gets into the trash, making him want to be more destructive. Scold him to discourage that trait.

Behavior and Trait Training
You should make use of the reinforcement system to praise good and scold bad behaviors. It works the other way, too. Getting by with no punishment for bad behavior can lead a dog to take on that trait. Overeating or using the bathroom in the house could lead to the Piggy trait, and chewing on furniture could make a pet destructive. Unless you tell them so, they'll think they can keep doing it! You can learn about Dog Traits here.

Puppies and Kittens will have their own page, along with information on breeding animals. For now, know that puppies need help up stairs. The best they can do to avoid going in the house is to head to the porch unless you assist them. Play with your puppy and build a relationship between dog and master. You can teach a puppy to be neat and discourage aggression and other annoying traits like destructive during this phase.

The Sims 3 Pets: Giving a dog a flea bath will get rid of the annoying bugs

While outdoors, dogs can get fleas which of course can make them miserable. You can give them a flea bath to remedy this, and there is a lifetime reward for an automatic flea bath machine. Spending any length of time around the dog can spread them to your Sim. Get the dog to a flea bath as soon as he's ready to come around your Sims. If your Sim gets fleas, treat the dog first. I've had them jump right back on to my Sim.

Adult Dogs
All grown up, dogs can do more. They can learn tricks, guard the house, and even find things that can bring the family more money. If you keep an eye on them, you can do a lot for behavior but a dog born destructive is bound to be that way. That is why there is an option to reset your pet's traits with a Lifetime Reward.

The Sims 3 Pets: Teach a dog the roll over trick

You can teach dogs to perform up to six tricks: sit, sit up, play dead, roll over, speak, and shake. Each trick takes a while to master. These are only for showing off to friends and don't really serve a purpose. You can't command the dog to sit or stay in any useful way as it requires your Sim to be standing in front of the dog. When you've unlocked all six tricks, your dog can put on a trick exhibition show.

Dog Hunting Skill

About Hunting
I originally labeled this skill as though it couldn't be used to support a Sim family. I was very wrong about that, as proven in this forum thread. In the comparison of dog and cat earnings, it is clear that dogs take the win because the gems they find can be cut, and space rocks can be worth far more. You could train a pack of dogs to go after collectibles for you all day. Here's how the dog's hunting skill works:

Learning to Hunt
Upon reaching adulthood, dogs can be trained to hunt. Your Sim will teach them to identify smells. When they've gained a couple of levels in the skill, click on open ground and select Sniff Out Collectible. Your Sim can also order the dog to go find something. They'll set out, following their noses, and eventually come across something. It could be a gem, metal, space rock or something valueless that is interesting to a dog, like a maple leaf or snake skin. Around level five, you can tell the dog to find a specific type of item. While controlling the dog, you can also use Locate Gem, Metal or Rock to see where these items are located in map view. With a little training having a dog is like owning a pocket Collection Helper.

As your dog hunts, it will eventually develop the hunter trait - unless you encounter a bug like I did. This will make the dog even better at hunting.

The Sims 3 Pets: Not all hole digging is useless. Dogs on the hunt will dig up great treasures

Occasionally, dogs will find pieces of larger objects that can be reassembled. The dog himself can do it, just carry out this command on your lot. The little statues can be worth thousands. There are several different kinds that you can collect. This will reward people who spend extra time hunting.

There are three hunting skill challenges. Dogs can get better at finding each kind of object. If you prefer one type over the other, such as Gems, you can tell the dog to focus on that type so you can unlock the bonus faster.

Dogs and the other Pets are a great addition to The Sims 3 experience. If you have a tip for this guide, you can send an email to or register at our Sims 3 forum.

Comments (33)

1 2 > Last
elish says...
hi i was wondering do u need the sims 3 to play the sims pets 3 for the computer.

im a big fan my bffl has it and i am dieing to get it all i need to know is the answer THX
Yes you do. There is a Sims 3 Plus Pets available.
3rd November 2012 1:54pm
javesw says...
you need the sims 3 base game to play any of the expansion packs
24th January 2013 12:40am
yaa says...
Yes you do
8th June 2013 12:01pm
Kalli says...
Same when it comes to Stuff Packs. You'll need the base game (also known as just The Sims 3) to install stuff packs (like High End Loft Stuff) and expansion packs (like Pets).
2nd April 2014 1:28pm
Simmer says...
I really want sims 3 pets! Carl, what would be your top 10 pets out of sims 3 pets?
There are only three types of large pets. There is no difference beyond that so it's not a list that can really be made.
14th July 2013 5:37am
Shari says...
I usually just make the relationship between the dog and person I want to "own" it higher than the relationship between that dog and any one else.
20th May 2014 6:28pm
Titch says...
Hey hey! I was wondering if anyone could tell me how pets intergrate into the household. Are they counted like they are on Wii, as one of the eight avalible places of sims in the household? Like if i had a dog could i then only have seven sims?
Thx :D
20th December 2012 5:09am
Anonymous says...
No, because as far as I know, you can only have up to six sims (including dogs, cats, horses etc) so... Yeah.
27th December 2012 5:12pm
Ana says...
You can have up to 8 sims, and up to 6 animals. But you cannot have more than 10 total playables in your household at a time. So if you had 8 sims, you could only have 2 animals, etc.
30th December 2012 5:05am
Sharon says...
I have 2 dogs, 3 horses, two robots and two sims ...that's 9?
3rd January 2014 3:07am
Sharon says...
Yeah that leaves room for a baby !!
3rd January 2014 3:20am
Phenney says...
I believe animals count as a sim. (Not 100% sure about this,) And when you get into the world I think you can get more pets/sims then you can create in the beginning. Im not sure about all of this stuff but I hope it helped :)
4th January 2014 9:16pm
Julie says...
If you use the "testingcheatsenabled true" before you start your game, when you adopt any animal you can "shift + click" on the animal. This will allow you to edit your pet by choosing the option to "edit in create a sim." At this point is like creating the animal for the first time. You can change it's breed, traits, age, etc. AND if you have a lot of sims/pets, "shift + click" on the mailbox and "make all needs static" you won't have to worry about all the normal needs (i.e. bladder, hunger, etc.) This allows you tons of time to love and play with your pets and or sims.
18th February 2013 4:02pm
Emla says...
I have looked everywhere for an answer to a questions without any luck so I'll test here. Anyway, I have a sim that adopted 2 puppies from one of my neighbor, one of them became "my dog" (It says so if I click on the relations tab and hover the mouse over the dog for information) but not the other one.
First of all why is that, how could that happend?
Second; I moved in another sim to my house and now I want to connect that sim with the other dog so my each to sims has it's own dog. Is that even possible and if yes how can I do that?

Do you understand my questions?

Thank you in advance :)
As far as I know you can only adopt one animal at a time from neighbors.  Are both dogs showing as portraits where your Sim portraits are?  If not, you'll have to go back and get the other dog.
18th July 2013 7:55pm
lollipop farm YAY says...
Hello, I only get big dogs because most of my Sims houses have stairs... So i was wondering if small dogs can use stairs without help. I know that Sims can lift them and all its just that always having to help them upstairs would be a pain in the butt! Also sometimes Sims are gone!
9th September 2013 7:10pm
TheBookWasBetter says...
Small (Adult) dogs can climb stairs.
Puppies (Big or Small) cannot climb stairs.
14th November 2013 2:01pm
DrummerRose says...
Is the hunting skill the only skill that dogs can get??
14th November 2013 12:40pm
Leanne says...
Thanks a tonne!
7th November 2013 12:03am
Abstract with turkey says...
Dig is my favourite pet
14th September 2013 10:08pm
zozo says...
Is the hunting skill the only skill that dogs can get??
21st November 2013 4:53pm
Asjjjedjedjwed says...
Cats can learn the hunting skill, however they can only find small animals. (birds, rodents, snakes, turtles, and possibly fish)
2nd February 2014 11:09am
Darkcanine says...
S/he meant to ask if it's the only skill a dog can get, not if only the dog can get it.
6th July 2014 2:41am
Darkcanine says...
6th July 2014 2:39am
Yleise says...
What are the benefits to my sim when it comes to walking the family dog? Does this count toward the athletic skill?
30th September 2012 10:43pm
Dominique Black says...
Thanks Sims.
1st July 2013 2:50am
Sims says...
Thanks I clicked on my dog and it said trick exhibition and I'm like 'what is that meant to do!'

Thanks for having the answer!

18th May 2013 7:11pm
Tacopig says...
testingcheatsenabled true cheat also works for unicorns. Not only cats, dogs and horses.
28th April 2013 11:29am
Nicki says...
Hey guys but if ya got the fairytale wish ya will don't complete it ya need to befriend it and adopt it that way
2nd May 2013 10:55am
Gabriella says...
I have the Sims 3 basegame and it's really glitchy, whenever I try to update my game (which it is still un-updated) it says unable to connect to something something media. I bought and downloaded the Sims 3 Pets, and because of that glitch, I wasted $20 and 24 hours. Is there a way that I can fix the problem?
2nd April 2013 9:43am
Yourfacehere says...
Sounds like you might have to patch your game manually.
2nd May 2013 5:08pm
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