Generation #1 · Generation #1 (1-10)

Charmeleon Aggression: A Discussion

Image provided by Tnknwrks

Aggression is a normal response in Pokémon that can make the difference between life and death in the wild. However, it can become a problem in powerful tame species such as Charmeleon when a simple claw or bite can be deadly and inflict serious injury. This discussion will look at aggression instances in Charmeleon to assess how and why we should deal with aggression in Pokémon partners.

One thing we must remember as responsible trainers is that every Charmeleon, if pushed enough, can be aggressive and that it is a natural reaction. Aggression can be the expression of emotion – be it frustration, surprise or anger. It can also be a way that the Pokémon deals with everyday situations that it is unsure about, demonstrating anxiety or a response to perceived threat. The Charmeleon uses aggressive moves such as biting and clawing to distance itself from the unusual and potentially dangerous situation. However, there is no reason why we cannot teach Charmeleon alternative reactions that are more welcome in a home environment.

Charmander will need careful training and nurturing to ensure that their Charmeleon stage does not use aggression inappropriately. If Charmeleon do not get this teaching early in life, it is much tougher to solve problems later. Without this early stimulation, a Charmeleon may appear to be constantly aggressive, but they are actually just basing their behaviours on experiences they learned early on in life. For more information on training Charmander, check out Rod Cumming’s book ‘Your Charmander and You’, which includes some excellent tips on clicker training that can be started right at egg stage.

However, while we can adjust behaviour, part of Charmeleon’s aggression is hereditary. There was an interesting study that assessed aggression frequency in 1,500 Charmeleon – half from the wild and half in captivity. It found Charmeleon that had been bred from a long line of battling partners were more prone to aggression than those caught in the wild. There were also physical differences: Charmeleon with a fighting lineage were larger, had harder bites and were quicker to use clawing attacks than fire.

Charmeleon communicate through body language, so this is a brilliant tool for assessing and negating anger before it leads to aggression. They have an extensive number of non-aggressive signals that demonstrate anger, including baring the teeth, narrowing the eyes, growling, snarling and staring. These signals will become more frequent the more persistent the threat. With these warning signs, it should be easy to spot when your Charmeleon is uncomfortable with something that is happening – a situation that could lead to aggressive behaviour. When you see these signs, act quickly. Start by removing the source of your Charmeleon’s anger and distract him with something engaging or something he enjoys. Later, when you are in a neutral environment, discuss what happened with him calmly. Setting up a routine of open discourse is the only true way of addressing ongoing triggers.

In your discussions, try and find the true source of the anger. What is your Charmeleon really angry about? If it is a knee-jerk reaction, it is likely masking another feeling that might be harder to show. Anger can also mask anxiety, so perhaps you need to consider whether your Charmeleon is feeling insecure. If this is the case, there are plenty of CBT professionals that specifically deal with fire types. CBT, or cognitive behavioural therapy, is designed to address the way your Charmeleon thinks and behaves, especially when it comes to thoughts about himself and how he feels about things happening around him.

Finally, anger is sometimes a sign of an underlying health condition. Make sure your Charmeleon’s health records are up to date and you regularly attend the Pokécentre clinics just to be sure.

Is aggression training the right thing to do for my Charmeleon?

I was once visiting a village at the base of Mount Molteau where a proud young lad by the name of Kit had caught himself a Charmeleon from the wild for security purposes and pest control on his farm. He was a fairly experienced trainer, so the Charmeleon quickly adapted to home living in all circumstances but one: the mailman. The village was fairly remote and a tight-knit community. Everyone had helped Kit train the Charmeleon and was familiar to him. However, Mr Chibbs came over from the next village to kindly distribute the mail every Sunday. Charmeleon, being quite pack-driven, just could not accept this occasional visitor into his world-view. He did everything he could to make the poor guy’s life a living hell. I have a lot of respect for that man for carrying on with his work through it all! Just imagine a fully grown 1m-high Charmeleon running at you with claws and teeth bared, all for stepping a toe over the village limits!

I was called in on behalf of the postal service to help sort the situation in 1997. It was part of this visit that Kit turned to me (in the middle of my grand introductory speech, I might add) to ask was aggression training the right thing to do? At first I was fuming – “how could he ask me that?”, I thought. But, I then paused for thought. It is actually an interesting question. Of course, the question ‘Is aggression training right for my Charmeleon?’ in relation to a situation where the Pokémon may endanger someone (or something) else should always be answered “yes”. However, it draws attention to the, perhaps, more important question of “should a Charmeleon showing aggression be kept in captivity?”.

This line of thought led me, rather than continuing with the course, to ask Kit to consider speaking with his Charmeleon about alternative living arrangements. Luckily, as they lived in the middle of no-where, close to the cave system where he caught the Charmeleon, this was easily carried out. He would come around a few times a day (when Chibbs wasn’t there) to help out on the farm in exchange for meat, but would live in the wild. The Charmeleon just wasn’t suitable to living in that sort of environment and a simple change in arrangement was enough to find a harmonious solution.

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