Despite the return of trusty companion Dogmeat, Fallout 4 didn't ship with the ability to handle any hounds. Shocking, I know. In a world where dog-rating Twitter accounts are tangibly changing the shape of games, who can afford to take any chances?
Like so many things in Fallout, mods have arrived to fix this injustice.
I prefer to think of Pet Any Dog as less of an add-on, more of a solution. Fallout 4 had many, many dogs in it - some of which weren't even trying to gnaw your face clean off. Mod creator Sagittarius22 is simply letting you do more than gaze longingly at your pooch. Finally, a chance to show some affection to anything in this nuclear-blasted Boston hellscape.
You'll need to be a nature-lover first, with one rank in Animal Friend. Once you've gained access to this elusive "liking animals" trait, you'll be able to pet any pooch in the game by talking to them. Petting comes in two flavours - crouched and standing. This mod only lets you pet dogs for now, and you can't take them with you alongside Dogmeat. Unfortunately, modding has yet to realise my life's end-state: roaming the lands as a wretched beastmaster, raiding villages with a Mad Max gang of terriers clad in leather and spikes. Sigh.
There are caveats, of course. You can't pet a dog with a gun or a fist. You can't pet a dog in power armour, either. Naturally, you're gonna have a hard time getting friendly with a pooch if either of you are in combat - doubly so if you're in a fight with each other.
I really don't have any advice if you're set on walking up to rabid wolves with a hammer and expecting anything to go well.
Fallout 4 can be awfully lonely, and a little bit rubbish. If you find your next trip into the wasteland needs a little puppy love, you can grab Pet Any Dog over on the Fallout 4 Nexus.