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[OPEN] Ask Professor Cypress

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andrian's Avatarandrian
andrian's Avatar
Hello! I'm Professor Cypress. I'm a specialist in Pokemon behavior, and have worked alongside Kanto's Professor Oak and Hoenn's Professor Birch. Pokemon may have been living alongside humans for a very long time, but sometimes their habits and behaviors can be frustrating or confusing for their owners. This can lead trainers to keep their Pokemon confined to their Pokeballs most of the time, and, while this may be more convenient, spending so much time apart can weaken the bond between trainer and Pokemon. That's why I've decided to start this column! I encourage trainers from around the world to write in with their questions about the everyday care and raising of Pokemon. I was inspired to do this after I received a letter from a friend of mine, Sarah P. from Kanto. With her permission, I am reproducing her letter here.

QUOTE originally posted by Sarah P.

Dear Professor Cypress, I'm having trouble with my Pikachu, Static. Static is very sweet and affectionate, and is mostly well-behaved in the house, but ever since he evolved from Pichu, he has started to chew on power cords! He's chewed up three phone chargers, two lamp cords, and he even started chewing the vacuum cord while I was using it! I love Static to death, but I feel like I can't leave him unsupervised for a minute for fear he'll swallow something that will harm him and ruin another of my appliances! What can I do to get him to stop?!
First, let me say that Sarah's problem with Static is in no way unique. Now, while she did not say it, I would be willing to bet that Static is only chewing on power cords which are plugged in. Her letter hints at this when she mentions that Static tried to chew the cord of the vacuum cleaner while she was using it - in other words, when it was plugged in. I have seen this behavior from other similar electric-type Pokemon as well, such as Pachirisu, Plusle, Minun, and Dedenne. Many owners assume that it has something to do with the way the cord feels in their mouths, as many Pokemon will chew cords for this reason. However, with electric types such as Pikachu, the more probable cause for this behavior is that these Pokemon want to be shocked. Pikachu store electrical energy in their cheeks, and while they do produce electricity on their own, they can also absorb it from other sources. Another interesting point is that this behavior began after Static evolved into Pikachu. Pichu, as many trainers are aware, have a more difficult time controlling their electrical discharges, and are often startled when they shock something by accident. Part of the reason for this is that Pichu naturally generate more electricity than they can safely store in their small cheek pouches, meaning that it takes very little effort on their part to create sparks. Pikachu, on the other hand, have larger cheek pouches, as well as better control over when they discharge electricity. This means fewer accidental shocks, of course, but for some Pikachu, it can also create a sensation of being understimulated. Static may have become accustomed to shocking himself by accident, and may miss that sensation. Fortunately, a solution for this exists. Check online or at your local Pokemart for a Pokepacitor. A Pokepacitor is a device that stores up electricity and has two metal contacts which, when touched by a Pokemon, will cause a brief, safe electrical shock. Keep one plugged in near your electric Pokemon's food bowl, bed, or another area where they spend a lot of time. Show your Pokemon what it does by gently pressing part of their body against the contacts. This will allow your Pokemon to sate their desire for electricity without needing to destroy your power cords and risk flipping your breakers or giving themselves a dangerous shock. In addition, if your Pokemon has already begun the habit of chewing on cords, as Static has, it's important to discourage this behavior while at the same time encouraging the use of the Pokepacitor. Rather than punishing or yelling at your Pokemon, which will hurt your bond with them and teach them to only chew the cords when you're not around, I suggest getting some berry juice from a berry your Pokemon strongly dislikes or some medicine made from bitter herbs, such as Heal Powder, and coating your power cords with it. This will discourage cord chewing, as your Pokemon will dislike the flavor and learn to associate it with power cords. To do this, dip a cloth or paper towel into your berry juice (in the case of a medicinal powder, mix it with water until it forms a runny paste), and then rub it onto the cords. To be safe, wait until the cords are dry before plugging them back in! I wish Sarah P. and all you other trainers out there good luck! Do you have a question for Professor Cyprus? If so, please write or email the Pokemon Post. Your letter may appear in next week's column! ((Please make all IC replies in this thread in the form of letters to Professor Cypress. In case it wasn't obvious, this is meant to be a cross between Dear Abby and My Cat From Hell, only with Pokemon. Questions should be about dealing with problems that arise when raising Pokemon in everyday life. Please clearly indicate OOC content with double parentheses, brackets, or in some other way that will help me to clearly distinguish it from IC. I have no money to commission art of Professor Cypress, but I would welcome donations! ^_^))
Check out my sprite shop! Rockruff chewing the furniture? Turtwig won't come out of its shell? Whatever your Pokemon question, you can always Ask Professor Cypress! Sprite used in avatar from original games, recolor and BG by me.
Teecuppz's AvatarTeecuppz
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Dear Professor Cypress, Recently, my Snivy has been causing some problems. My Snivy has been getting into fights with other trainer's pokemon without warning, and has also been pouting whenever I try to interact with them. I think that my Snivy might be upset about something, but im not sure what? I've suspected that it may have something to do with my newly hatched Petilil, as I've only hatched her recently and have had to pay quite a bit of attention to her. I should also add that Petilil is now my second pokemon, so it only used to be Snivy before. Is there any way to stop my Snivy from lashing out? From, Grass Trainer Taz
Grass Type Trainer Taz ^-^ (Pfp created by me :D)
andrian's Avatarandrian
andrian's Avatar
Grass Trainer Taz, This is a wonderful question, and something that new trainers have to deal with quite often. While it is unusual for a Snivy to behave this way, as they tend to have calm dispositions, it is important to remember that each Pokemon is a unique individual. Pokemon (and people, too!) sometimes act out when someone new comes into the life of someone they love. Many would call this mere jealousy, but when we try to put ourselves in another's shoes, we often find more charitable ways of interpreting their behavior. I think it's very astute of you to have noticed that this behavior began following your adoption of a second Pokemon. Let us try to think, for a moment, from Snivy's point of view. One moment, everything is great. Snivey is getting all the love and attention from you, and Snivy feels safe and comfortable knowing that the two of you have a strong bond. The next moment, there's a new Pokemon in the picture, and suddenly Snivy is feeling threatened by this intruder. You have been pouring much of your energy and attention into the new Pokemon, and Snivy is probably wondering if Petilil has replaced them in your affections. Feeling hurt and betrayed, Snivy then lashes out at other Pokemon, both to vent their frustration and to get your attention. Even if it's negative attention, Snivy knows deep down that the fact that you intervene means you still care about them. Snivy's biggest fear right now is of being entirely abandoned by you, and so acting out is a way for them to gauge how close that is to happening. In addition, Snivy is afraid that if they open back up to you, they'll only be inviting more hurt, so they try to distance themselves from you whenever you try to interact with them. It's easy for us to forget that Pokemon have complex emotional lives, and that many of them are quite smart - even if they don't always think the same way we do. You will have to win back Snivy's trust, and to do that, they need to know that you love them just as much as you did before Petilil came along. You also need to make sure that Snivy knows that it's not okay to attack other Pokemon outside of battles. What's important to note here is that punishment will only intensify Snivy's fear of abandonment. Instead, Snivy needs support and positive reinforcement for good behaviors. Now, I don't know the exact nature of your relationship with Snivy, but as trainers and Pokemon bond, there are usually certain places or activities that helped bring them together. Perhaps eating at your favorite Pokemon cafe, or climbing a mountain to watch the sunset. Whatever it is that has brought you and Snivy together in the past, I would encourage setting aside some time to do this one-on-one with Snivy on a regular basis. Ideally, you should choose an activity that allows you to keep some distance between yourself and other Pokemon so as to avoid fights. Take along some of Snivy's favorite Pokeblocks or some other special treat, and use it to reward good behavior from Snivy. Don't forget to shower them with praise and affection, too! You need to communicate, both through your words and your actions, that you will always love Snivy no matter how many other people or Pokemon come into your life. Snivy needs to understand that you can love both them and Petilil, and that there's no need to fear being abandoned or forgotten. You will also need to help develop a bond between Snivy and Petilil. This will involve having them spend time interacting with one another in positive ways, such as playing together. It doesn't sound like Snivy is inclined to be violent toward Petilil, but it is important that you supervise this time so that you can step in if any fights break out. If you use your Pokemon for battling, perhaps you could engage other local trainers in 2-on-2 sparring matches that will help build trust between Snivy and Petilil. If there are Pokemon contests in your area, perhaps entering both Snivy and Petilil together as part of a team act would help. The more they work together, the more they will bond, and the more Snivy will see Petilil as part of the family. Remember that it often takes more time to heal than it does to hurt. Mending this rift may require patience and dedication. If you need further help or advice, I suggest contacting your local Pokemon Center. They may be able to give you more specific advice than I can, and will know of local resources to assist trainers. I wish you and your Pokemon family, as well as all the other trainers out there dealing with similar problems good luck!
SnivyQueen15's AvatarSnivyQueen15
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To Professor Cypress, I’m mainly writing to discuss my Palpitoad, Splodge. He’s really nice, sure, but he always shoots mud everywhere in my house and I’m not sure why. I personally don’t mind cleaning it, I’m just curious to why. I don’t think it’s a preparation for evolution, as I’ve given him a Everstone, or if it’s potentially a sickness I wasn’t aware of. Potentially you might know why this is? Thanks, Trainer Sky.
Avatar made by myself in IbisPaint X! A friendly RP, open to all!
andrian's Avatarandrian
andrian's Avatar
Dear Trainer Sky, This certainly sounds like a behavior that would frustrate many trainers! I applaud your patience as you deal with this issue. However, I'm sure that many trainers would consider this as potential grounds for releasing their Pokemon to a shelter or back into the wild. I know I would not want to be constantly cleaning mud out of my home! I would like to offer my readers an alternative to this path if they are dealing with this issue. Now, you have not given me enough details for me to know if Splodge may be suffering from some illness, but I suggest taking him in to get a checkup at your local Pokemon Center right away just in case. You should always do this if the health of your Pokemon is in question. If Splodge is in good health, however, there is a likely explanation for his behavior. As I'm sure you're aware, Palpitoad is one of several frog-like Pokemon, along with Froakie, Croagunk, Poliwag, and their evolutions, who all tend to live in or near water. Palpitoad is amphibious, meaning that it is just as at home in the water as it is on land. In the wild, Palpitoad often live at the edges of ponds or streams, places which are often muddy. It may be that Splodge is trying to make your home more comfortable for himself by simulating a muddy environment. It would make sense that he might be feeling a bit homesick for the muddy water margin, or simply be feeling a biological urge to be in a muddy environment. If this is the correct explanation, and not the result of illness, then it may be time to do some landscaping or home rennovations. If Splodge has a mud wallow he can return to when at home, he may no longer feel the need to spray mud in the house. If installing a pond or permanent mud tub is not feasible, then I suggest getting a large plastic storage container to fill with mud. You might even get Splodge to help you with picking one out and filling it up. You can then place this "mud tub" outside or in an easy-to-clean area within your home. Make sure Splodge is able to access this whenever he wants, and that the mud does not dry out. You may even want to do this anyway, as Splodge may enjoy having a mud wallow at home. If Splodge keeps shooting mud in the house after this point, then you may need to help him redirect this behavior to his mud tub. Whenever he begins shooting mud, gently pick him up and place him in the tub. As mud baths can be relaxing and good for the skin, perhaps you can even model the new behavior for Splodge by getting into the tub yourself. Whenever Splodge uses the tub, give him a treat, such as his favorite flavor of Pokeblock so that he associates using the tub with getting a treat. In time, he should learn that this is the place where it's okay to enjoy the mud and not the house. As always, I do not encourage punishing Pokemon, as this generally only serves to weaken the bond between trainer and Pokemon, and is less effective than positive reinforcement. I hope that Splodge is in good health, and I wish you both the best of luck! The same goes to all you readers out there! As always, love yourselves, love each other, and love your Pokemon!
RenCringe's AvatarRenCringe
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Dear Professor Cypress, I hope this letter finds you well! ..My Kirlia, Bergamont, might not be. As the season has shifted from summer to autumn, he seems to be less active and more tired, especially on cloudy days. Is this in any way related to his psychokenisis or horns? He seems to be more defensive of those, not letting any of my other Pokemon near him when normally he's a pretty relaxed guy. I've been very worried, and his condition has only gotten more severe. I'm currently unable to take him to any sort of Pokemon Center as Bergamont will actively resist going anywhere outside the house. You're pretty much my only option. Best wishes, Trainer Ren
SnivyQueen15's AvatarSnivyQueen15
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((Quick thing I gotta ask, is there like a delay on how long we can wait after a question is answered? Can we just do another instantly? Because I have another one.))
andrian's Avatarandrian
andrian's Avatar
((I don't have any preference on the time between questions, though if things start getting crazy, I may ask for a halt on questions until I get caught up. Right now, though, everything's good! I'm currently getting my response to RenCringe's post ready. If I get another letter before I'm done, I'll use quotes and answer both in the same post.))
SnivyQueen15's AvatarSnivyQueen15
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((OK, thanks for the info!)) To Professor Cypress, Thanks for that info! I was able to properly sort out that mud issue with what you said to do, but it turns out another problem has arisen with another Pokemon of mine, that being a Hawlucha. I don’t really understand but he always persists on dragging me out of bed really early to train, even if he was satisfied with the previous day’s results. We always do it at the same time, around noon, so I don’t get what his sudden change is about. He could just want the urge to train more, but why so early is what I’m wondering about. Do you have any ideas? Thanks again, Trainer Sky.
andrian's Avatarandrian
andrian's Avatar

QUOTE originally posted by RenCringe

Dear Professor Cypress, I hope this letter finds you well! ..My Kirlia, Bergamont, might not be. As the season has shifted from summer to autumn, he seems to be less active and more tired, especially on cloudy days. Is this in any way related to his psychokenisis or horns? He seems to be more defensive of those, not letting any of my other Pokemon near him when normally he's a pretty relaxed guy. I've been very worried, and his condition has only gotten more severe. I'm currently unable to take him to any sort of Pokemon Center as Bergamont will actively resist going anywhere outside the house. You're pretty much my only option. Best wishes, Trainer Ren
Dear Trainer Ren, Thank you for writing. It sounds as though you are dealing with a serious problem. Fortunately, the problem is fairly easy to diagnose, but I fear the solution will not be as easy. Not to worry, though! Bergamont can be helped, but it will require some very important work on your part. As I'm sure you're aware, Kirlia are highly sensitive to the emotions of their trainers and others around them, as well as to the weather. They are noted to enjoy dancing in the sunshine. What's more, their moods tend to reflect those around them. Kirlia tend to be happiest when they are around happy people. I suspect that the reason Bergamont has begun to grow sluggish and antisocial has something to do with the mood of his trainer, or of someone else with whom he spends a lot of time. You have noticed that Bergamont is very sensitive about his horns, which is a key indicator of this. As you know, a Kirlia's horns grant it its psychokinetic abilities, but what you may not know is that these horns are also the source of its empathic abilities. Think of them as a sort of psychic antenna for picking up the emotions of others. Bergamont's horns may be painful and sensitive due to strong negative emotions in his vicinity. In addition, your growing concern and worry over Bergamont's condition may be further bothering Bergamont, making his condition worse, and thereby increasing your own negative emotions. Another important factor to note is that Bergamont's mood change seems tied to the season and the weather. This suggests to me that the emotional change to which he is reacting is also correlated with the weather. While I'm not a human doctor and cannot make a diagnosis via letter, I would say that these symptoms sound a lot like something called Seasonal Affective Disorder. It is a form of depression that comes on as the days shorten, and is tied to the amount of sunlight we are exposed to. Much like Kirlia, humans become happier when they are exposed to sunshine, and some humans are more sensitive to the reduced amounts of sunshine that come with the winter months. You may be surprised to hear that I myself suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. Fortunately, since I have moved to Hoenn, whose winters are far more mild than more northern regions, I have not had as much trouble with it. I would suggest that you visit a licensed psychiatrist for an evaluation. Leave Bergamont at home for this, as psychiatrist's offices are often filled with sad or otherwise distressed people, and the process of the evaluation may be uncomfortable for you, as well. The psychiatrist will be able to tell you if you are affected by any mental illness that might be affecting your Pokemon. If so, they will be able to prescribe a treatment that may help you. If not, then perhaps the issue lies with one of the other members of your household. Mental illness recovery is rarely easy, and it often requies hard work. However, it can be done. In the meantime, I suggest you begin adopting habits that promote good mental health, and that you encourage these habits in Bergamont. First, be sure not to stay up too late, and to get up early so that you and your Pokemon get as much exposure to the sun as possible. Be sure to spend time outside whenever the weather permits to get fresh air and sunshine, and to get regular exercise to keep your body in good health. Drink lots of water and eat a healthy, balanced diet. In addition, as Bergamont's mood seems to go down on cloudy days, I suggest that you purchase a light box. These devices can be found at many department stores and have been shown to help individuals with Seasonal Affective Disorder. They emit a light that simulates the spectrum of sunlight, unlike ordinary electric lights, and can thus help to make up for a deficiency in natural sunlight. I have also found that they can help to lift the spirits of Kirlia in much the same way that a sunny day can. Finally, I sugget that you plan a fun event or activity for you and Bergamont. Perhaps plan a party for him, or have a game night. Invite as many cheerful people as you can. Even if Bergamont does not want to join in, having fun yourself and having other cheerful people around him will help to lift his spirits. It may be that such an event could help to snap him out of his malaise and make it easier for him to join you when you leave the house and engage in his usual activities. I wish you and Bergamont the best of luck! Remember, this process may take time, and progress may not always go in a straight line, but with effort and the right help, I have no doubt that you'll have Bergamont back to his old self. I hope any of my other readers who are struggling with mental illness will find this advice helpful, as well. As always, love yourselves, love others, and love your Pokemon! --------------------------------------------------

QUOTE originally posted by SnivyQueen15

To Professor Cypress, Thanks for that info! I was able to properly sort out that mud issue with what you said to do, but it turns out another problem has arisen with another Pokemon of mine, that being a Hawlucha. I don’t really understand but he always persists on dragging me out of bed really early to train, even if he was satisfied with the previous day’s results. We always do it at the same time, around noon, so I don’t get what his sudden change is about. He could just want the urge to train more, but why so early is what I’m wondering about. Do you have any ideas? Thanks again, Trainer Sky.
Dear Trainer Sky, Thank you for your letter. I'm glad my advice was helpful, and I hope Splodge is well and happy. Regarding your Hawlucha, it is difficult to know what the reason for this change of behavior might be, but I am willing to hazard a guess. Even if I am wrong in this particular instance, it may be that I can still provide some insight into the mind of Hawlucha and help other trainers with similar problems. One key thing to remember about Hawlucha is that they are very proud Pokemon who like to show off. If you train in a public area where others might see you, it could be that your Hawlucha is trying to impress someone. Perhaps Hawlucha fancies another Pokemon, or perhaps they have formed a rivalry with another Pokemon at your training facility and they want to prove to their rival that they're better. If Hawlucha has recently lost a battle, that could also explain it, as this may have given them a new determination to get stronger. Whatever the case in this specific instance, I suspect it will be tied in some way to your Hawlucha's desire to show off. Pay attention to how Hawlucha behaves during training, as Hawlucha are prone to showboating when they have an audience. This may give you insight into Hawlucha's sudden change in behavior. However, it is important to ensure your Pokemon does not overexert itself. Exercise is important for Pokemon, especially in the case of fighting types, but Pokemon that push themselves too far can actually harm their fitness rather than improving it. Keep an eye on your Hawlucha's health and make sure they (and you!) get sufficient rest. I wish you and your Hawlucha the best of luck, and I hope that my other readers have found this information helpful, as well. As always, love yourselves, love others, and love your Pokemon.

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