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My society uses dragons for various tasks. Blacksmithing, mining, warfare, fishing, hunting, carriage pulling/plowing, carrying messages, etc. My dragons have four limbs (2 legs/2 wings), and can get quite large. How might my society hypothetically "De-claw" dragons, especially more aggressive/wild-caught dragons who are not being used for warfare? Potential areas of danger (besides the obvious size) are a scythe-like blade on the end of the tail, the teeth, the fire, the claws, and the horns, which kind of make a spiky, potentially deadly frill. Both permanent (for uses other than warfare) and temporary (for warfare and potentially hunting/fishing) are great.

Edit: Horns and claws grow continuously throughout the dragon's lifetime

Edit #2: People don't have any real opposition to cruelty as long as it won't inhibit the performing of the dragon's task, i.e docking/amputating the tail above the blade if the dragon works in a forge.

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1) Claws and horns and spikes:

specialized blacksmiths, just like with horseshoes.

Semi-permanent: sawed, clipped, chiseled down. It would be a standalone profession, as it would be easy to agitate a "wild", not well-trained dragon. I imagine they wouldn't enjoy it and even protest against it, especially if the person doing it is unskilled and hurts them in the process.

Temporary: Leather, cloth "gloves", covers they tie around the sharp parts to lessen them from cutting weapons to bludgeoning one. Restrictive chains, but that depends on dragon strength and metal quality.

2) Fire-breathing:

Dog-style dragon muzzle. Even if they are immune to their own fires, I imagine it would be quite uncomfortable.


You can look up a lots of house-pet, animal keeping solutions for your dragons. Zoos and exotic pet owners will have to deal with similar problems and you may found even better solutions than those I just mentioned. Especially in a society heavily reliant on dragon domestication, they will be advanced animal keepers with modern or even futuristic (dragon-specific) solutions (depending on their level and "setting"). Like, How to train your dragon, etc.


To the Edit:

Just because cruelty is not an issue, it doesn't make it efficient. Amputation and long-term "docking" may cause sever health issues in time. A low-morale, unhealthy dragon may not be a productive, well-performing dragon.

The only reason livestock are kept cruelly is because of the easily accessible and cheap antibiotics preventing serious illnesses and plagues. Even that has a slowly eroding and far reaching negative effect on the global scale and may doom all of humanity. So yeah, there are always trade-off and always a price to pay for cutting corners in pursuit of profit.

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This partially depends on a variety of things, but just think of livestock.

A common way to make Bulls, Dogs, Cats, and other animals including Humans docile is by castrating the males. It's efficacy is questionable on the whole, but it's a method that has been in use for thousands of years. Remove the sex drive, and you remove at least one reason why these animals get aggressive in the first place. Spay the females and then they won't release pheromones when in season, which typically drives male animals into irrational frenzies. Just look at Deer in rutting season. Those are some truly dumb animals when a female is around. It's the same with house cats.

Docking the tail is of limited value depending on what the animal is used for. Does the Blade like part help at all with flying? You'd have to leave it for messengers, hunters and war animals.

Horns, spikes and claws. Either blunt or cover them. Covering them may not work too well, so drug the animal and break out an angle grinder and go to town.

As for the flames, well, you are going to have a society with lots of metals, ceramics, and stone in your construction. Not a lot of wood. Lots of leather garb. At least until your society figures out Asbestos and Nomex.

And you can do what many fairly brutal societies did when handling dangerous animals. Send the poor, stupid, or otherwise undesirable people to go in to take care of the Dragons and don't worry too much about safety. Just expect some "spoilage". If Bob the peasant gets roasted, well, just replace him with Bill the peasant. Peasants can always make more peasants.

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For horns, either saw them off, file them down, or use 'disbudding' which is what cattle farmers often do to young steers - put them in a kind of mechanical crush to immobilise them while the horn buds (the place on the skull where the horns are just starting to grow in) are cropped off with hot pliers or a knife and the wound is cauterised. The younger this is done, the better, though it can be performed on adults as well. This would likely be very painful for the dragon so heavy duty restraints would be required. See this wikipedia entry.

For the claws, either they could be filed down or removed in the same way cats are declawed, by amputating the end of the finger diget to prevent the claw from ever regrowing. You can also fit soft caps on the ends of the claws (which people do with cats as well) to make them scratch-proof as a temporary solution.

Teeth can be filed down or removed. It used to be common to smash out the teeth of dancing bears and photographers' animals such as chimps and tigers to make them 'safe'. Sadly this still goes on, but if your society doesn't care about cruelty that would probably be a good option for the dragons too.

For the fire, maybe you could have some sort of 'de-flaming' surgical procedure to remove the fire glands or ignition system or however dragons produce fire in your world. Or some kind of flame retardant muzzle.

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I expect in much the same ways that it's done to large, dangerous animals today. If these animals can be caught, they can be subdued ... either with sedatives, magic or the like. Tails can be amputated (this doesn't necessarily kill terrestrial reptiles).

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You can amputate claws and horns in newborn dragons or as soon as they start growing them. Another thing that comes to mind is possibly some sort of binding. Bones are never fully formed after birth and positioning parts of body in a certain way can create permanent modifications. (foot binding is one example)

Although I'd argue those exist for a reason and could even be useful to humans if they train dragons to use them properly.

Domesticating seems like a better option. Animals that grew up with humans or have been domesticated for generations become too docile and dependent on humans to be dangerous. Selective breeding can make species that physically lack dangerous parts too. Cattle is good real life example for both of these.

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Working with dragons is a lot like working with Elephants, anything you do to make them safer is going to be a moot point in the end when dealing with a creature that large. The best way to make animals that large safe is to breed them to be more docile. On top of that, dragon trainers would have be very good at maintaining a healthy relationship with the dragon and be able to recognize when it's time to stop working and give the animal a break, or intervene with positive stimuli before the animal becomes aggressive.

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