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The Last of Us Part II: How to avoid killing dogs

Naughty Dog’s latest masterpiece, The Last of Us Part II, is an incredibly violent game. Without getting into spoilers, it’s a revenge story in which the main character, Ellie, can brutally take out enemies who stand in her way. Not all of them are human, though. Some are infected creatures that are mutated with a strain of the Cordyceps fungus. While you probably won’t feel bad for killing those enemies, you might want to avoid eliminating the various dogs you come across.

Vicious enemy dogs have been featured in video games before, but they’re particularly realistic in The Last of Us Part II, making it tougher to justify killing them, even if they’re attacking you. Luckily, you don’t actually have to kill the dogs you encounter. This is a stealth game, after all, so you can sneak by them if you know what you’re doing.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through avoiding the killer dogs in The Last of Us Part II, along with other tips you should know.

Further reading:

How to sneak past dogs

Last of Us Part 2 Dog
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Let’s face it — we’ve been killing other humans in video games since the medium’s inception. That’s why we don’t really bat an eye when we’re tasked with taking them out, even in a realistic game like The Last of Us Part II. But, give us the option to do the same with dogs, and it’s a different story. The nice thing is that you can avoid killing all dogs in the game, except for one. Unfortunately, there is an unskippable interaction with a dog early on, in which you must complete a quick-time event to take it out. This might be too much for some to handle — and understandably so.

If you can get past that, though, every dog thereafter can be avoided. The dogs work similarly to the humans and infected, in that you must be quiet to avoid them. However, dogs have the ability to track your scent, so simply being quiet isn’t good enough. You have to distract them. It’s recommended to always have a bottle or brick on you, which can be collected throughout the world. If you see a dog and its owner, throw a brick or bottle toward them, but not at them.

This is important because the idea is to distract them, not draw them toward you. If you hit the dog or person with the item you threw, they’ll be alerted to your location, which is not what you want. Instead, aim for the area around them, particularly away from your destination. As long as you remain hidden and keep your distance while you throw items, the dogs won’t track you down.

It’s also important to know that you can press and hold R1 to enter listen mode, which highlights nearby enemies. It also reveals your scent, as indicated by a trail leading from the dog to Ellie. You’ll want to constantly check this when a dog is in range to tell if they’re onto you.

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you’ll end up alerting a dog. If this happens, you have a few options. The easiest thing to do is restart the checkpoint. The Last of Us Part II uses an autosave system that saves relatively often, so going back a few minutes isn’t a huge issue. You can do this from the pause menu. If you don’t want to risk losing anything to go back to the last save, then you can do the same thing you’d do if you encountered a dog in real life—run. Though, this method might be a lot harder to execute than you’d expect, depending on the layout of the area.

If you’re lucky, you can run to the objective without being stopped by an enemy, but a lot of times, this isn’t possible. If the dog gets close to you, you’ll need to press L1 to dodge out of the way, though timing it right during the heat of battle can be tricky. If you’re able to climb, you can jump onto a car or other high object so you’ll be out of reach of the dog while still targeting other enemies in the game. Again, whether this is possible depends on where you are concerning your goal.

If a dog grabs you, you’ll need to mash the square button to shake it off. Some dogs can do a lot of damage, so if your health was already less than stellar, you might not survive the attack.

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Joseph Yaden
Joseph Yaden is a freelance journalist who covers Nintendo, shooters, and horror games. He mostly covers game guides for…
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