|“||Ten boys, including Hiccup, were hoping to become full members of the Tribe by passing the Dragon Initiation Programme||”|
|— How to Train Your Dragon|
The Dragon Initiation Programme is a coming-of-age ritual for boys of the Hairy Hooligan Tribe to be accepted as fully-fledged Vikings of the Tribe.
Dragon Initiation Steps
Dragon Catching Day - Catching a Dragon
The first step for the Hooligan Novices is to get a Hunting dragon. It will test the novices' courage and burglary skills. Hunting dragon species grow to various sizes but not large enough to be a Riding dragon. These dragons will hunt and fish for the Viking and sometimes become considered pets. They function like dogs for the Vikings.
Most dragon species go into hibernation in the Winter. In the Isle of Berk, thousands of juvenile dragons congregate in the Dragon Nursery at the Wild Dragon Cliff. The novices must climb to the entrance of the caves, quietly enter and select a sleeping dragon. The dragon is placed in a 'dragon basket', a lidded basket with shoulder straps. Failure to return to the teacher (currently Gobber the Belch) will result in exile from the Tribe. Waking or angering the sleeping dragons may result in death.
Training a Hunting Dragon
|“||Lesser humans train hawks to hunt for them, horses to carry them. It is only the VIKING HEROES who dare to tame the wildest, most dangerous creatures on Earth.||”|
The Hooligan novices have months to train their dragons once they awaken from hibernation. The current method of training is Yelling at it. This is documented in the book How to Train Your Dragon by Professor Yobbish. Hiccup, however, isn't very good at yelling, so he tries other techniques. He tries Gratitude, Fear, Greed, Vanity, Revenge, and Jokes/Riddling Talk, with only the last of these working. He starts off by conversing with his dragon in Dragonese.
The novices must be able to train their dragon to do basic tricks, use the bathroom in the appropriate location and catch fish for them.
Initiation Day - Dragon Training Test
Testing a novice's dragon training skills takes place as part of the Thors'day Thursday Celebrations, during the Final Initiation Test. Both the trainees from the Hairy Hooligan Tribe as well as the Meathead Tribe participate. The participants get inspected (Gobber the Belch performs this during the events of Book 1) and then announced to the crowd. The initiates are to demonstrate their dragon's training and obedience to basic commands such as 'go', 'stay', and 'fetch'. The demonstration is sending the dragons out to fish on command. Any initiate who is able to make it through is considered a full member of their tribe, while those that are not able to demonstrate their dragon's obedience is exiled. One initiate will be declared the "winner" and given the title "Hero of Heroes" and "Most Promising Dragon".
|The Practices in|