Obedience is the Pokémon's willingness to listen to its Trainer's commands. While Pokémon usually obey their Trainers, they may disobey their Trainer if they do not respect them.
In the games
An outsider Pokémon will oftentimes not obey the player's commands if it is at too high a level and the player does not have the appropriate Badge or number of Badges. Having all eight Badges always makes all Pokémon obey the player. This rule stands to prevent players from trading in a high-leveled Pokémon from another game and easily beating the game.
In Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, Emerald, Colosseum, and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, Mew and Deoxys that were not met in a fateful encounter will always disobey the player, regardless of Badges or being outsider Pokémon. This exists to hinder players who cheat to obtain them.
From Generation V onward, a disobedient Pokémon will rarely ever attack. It appears that the closer the Pokémon's level is to the Trainer's maximum level, the more likely it is to listen. For example, prior to defeating the first Gym Leader, a level 100 Pokémon will almost always ignore its Trainer; however, attempting to control a level 36 Pokémon while the highest level controllable is 30 will result in the Pokémon listening more often, but still occasionally loaf around.
In Generations III and IV, ignoring orders in a Double Battle will allow it to select a different target.
The Badges or number of Badges that the player has affects their Pokémon's behavior. Before Generation V, usually the maximum level at which outsider Pokémon will obey the player is increased every second Badge (in Badge case order); since Generation V, this increase now occurs for every Badge instead of every other Badge. In Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum only, obedience is determined by the number of Badges, not which specific Badges the player has. This can be attributed to the non-linear way the player can obtain the Cobble and Fen Badges.
|Badges by obedience level|
The following table may be sorted by generation by clicking on the appropriate header.
|Quote||Effect||Gen I||Gen II||Gen III||Gen IV||Gen V||Gen VI|
|<Pokémon> used instead, <move>!||The Pokémon uses a different move||✓||✓||✗||✗||✗||✗|
|<Pokémon> ignored orders!||The Pokémon does not attack||✓||✓||✗||✓||✗||✗|
|The Pokémon uses a different move||✗||✗||✓||✓||✗||✗|
|<Pokémon> is loafing around!||The Pokémon does not attack||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|<Pokémon> turned away!||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|<Pokémon> won't obey!||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|<Pokémon> pretended not to notice!||✗||✗||✓||✓||?||✓|
|<Pokémon> began to nap!||The Pokémon goes to sleep||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|<Pokémon> won't obey! It hurt itself in its confusion!||The Pokémon does confusion damage to itself||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|<Pokémon> ignored orders...sleeping!|| The Pokémon does not attack
(when using Snore or Sleep Talk while asleep)
|<Pokémon> ignored orders while asleep!||✗||✗||✓||✓||?||?|
If it is possible for the Pokémon to disobey, when using a move a random integer from 0 to
T is generated, where
T = (Level of Pokémon) + M - 1. If this random integer is greater than or equal to
M, the Pokémon is disobedient. If a Pokémon is determined to be disobedient, the effect of Encore immediately ends.
If the Pokémon was using Snore or Sleep Talk while asleep, the Pokémon will ignore orders and do nothing. Otherwise, a second random integer from 0 to
T is generated, independently. If this random integer is less than
M, the Pokémon uses another possible move instead (it cannot select a move with no PP remaining or a disabled move). If this random integer is greater than or equal to
M, another random integer
R from 0 to 255 is generated.
Ris less than difference between the Pokémon's level and
M, the Pokémon takes a nap and goes to sleep.
- Otherwise, if
Ris less than twice this difference, the Pokémon inflicts confusion damage to itself.
- Otherwise, the Pokémon does not attack.
Generation III and IV
| This section is incomplete.|
Please feel free to edit this section to add missing information and complete it.
Reason: In Gen IV, check circumstances that skip the obedience check in Gen III.
In battles in which experience can be earned and the Trainer Tower, an outsider Pokémon may disobey the player if its level is greater than the maximum controllable level
M granted by the player's Badges. In Pokémon FireRed, LeafGreen, and Emerald,
M is treated as 0 for the obedience check of a Deoxys or Mew that is not met in a fateful encounter, ignoring the player's Badges.
If it is possible for the Pokémon to disobey, when using a move a number
A = ((Level of Pokémon) + M)*R1/256 is calculated, with
R1 being a randomly generated number from 0 to 255. If
A is greater than or equal to
M, the Pokémon is disobedient. If a Pokémon is determined to be disobedient and was commanded to use Rage, the effect of Rage immediately ends.
If the Pokémon was using Snore or Sleep Talk while asleep, the Pokémon will ignore orders and do nothing. Otherwise, a second number
B = ((Level of Pokémon) + M)*R2/256 is determined, with
R2 being a randomly generated number from 0 to 255 calculated independently. If
B is less than
M, the Pokémon uses another possible move instead. If
B is greater than or equal to
M, another random integer
R3 from 0 to 255 is generated.
R3is less than difference between the Pokémon's level and
M, the Pokémon takes a nap and goes to sleep, unless an uproar is occurring or it has the Ability Vital Spirit or Insomnia.
- Otherwise, if
R3is less than twice this difference, the Pokémon inflicts confusion damage to itself.
- Otherwise, the Pokémon does not attack.
In Generation III, the obedience check is not performed when using Pursuit on a Pokémon about to switch out, during the second turn of a move with a charging turn, or while locked into Bide or a consecutively executed move. In Generation IV, the obedience check is not performed while locked into Bide (other moves skipped in Generation III are unconfirmed in Generation IV).
In the anime
In The Problem with Paras, Cassandra's grandmother mentioned that Pokémon will only obey Trainers if they respect them. This respect can be earned by obtaining more Badges. As shown in Bad to the Bone, this respect can be lost by losing the Badges. Unlike the games, however, in the anime this is often overcome through emotional appeals or selflessness.
In the original series
In Pokémon - I Choose You!, Ash's Pikachu was initially very hostile towards him due to having no respect for a beginning Trainer. It wasn't until Ash protected Pikachu from a flock of Spearow that he finally respected and listened to Ash.
Ash's Primeape was incredibly violent and virtually uncontrollable, and thus, Ash rarely used it. However, during the P1 Grand Prix, Ash saved Primeape from a dangerous fall, and it began to respect and listen to Ash.
Although not purposefully disobedient, Misty's Psyduck rarely does what she commands it to do, usually because it simply does not understand. It comes out of its Poké Ball at its own will when Misty calls for another (mostly for comedic relief).
Ash's Charmander refused to obey him after evolving into Charmeleon, and continued to disobey as a Charizard. When Ash commanded it, it would either ignore Ash's orders and use a different move, go to sleep, leave the battlefield, or attack Ash. After Ash stayed up all night to look after Charizard when it had become frozen in Charizard Chills, Charizard gained respect for Ash.
In Bad to the Bone, Otoshi's Marowak left its Trainer after he lost and failed to recover his Badges, as Marowak had lost respect for him. Marowak later returned when it saw how happy a group of Trainers and their Pokémon were together.
In the Advanced Generation series
In Exploud and Clear!, Guy's Loudred stopped obeying him after it evolved into Exploud, and ran off. However, after Guy jumped in front of Team Rocket's cork gun to protect it, it came to respect him.
In the Diamond & Pearl series
In An Elite Meet and Greet!, Dawn's Buizel refused to obey her commands during his battle against Lucian's Bronzong, resulting in his defeat. Later, after Lucian commanded Buizel during his battle against Team Rocket, Lucian showed Dawn how to battle with Buizel, instead of forcing him to battle; as a result, in their rematch Buizel obeyed Dawn. Buizel continued to obey her afterwards, and always obeyed Ash after Dawn traded Buizel to him.
Dawn's Piloswine frequently disobeyed her after evolving from Swinub, and continued to disobey as Mamoswine. In Trials and Adulations!, Mamoswine was injured during a battle against a wild Aggron; Dawn and her Pokémon used the first aid skills Brock taught her in Doc Brock! to help Mamoswine recover, and later attempted to protect Mamoswine from Team Rocket. As a result, Mamoswine gained respect for Dawn, and under her instructions, it was able to defeat Aggron. After that, although Mamoswine was still a little rebellious, it does not hesitate to help Dawn when she was in danger.
In the Best Wishes series
In the Best Wishes series, Iris's Excadrill refused to battle, as he was ashamed of when he lost to Drayden's Haxorus. When sent out of his Poké Ball, he would simply stay curled up as a drill. In Iris and Excadrill Against the Dragon Buster!, he gained respect for Iris after her apology, and he began to obey her.
Later, Iris caught an Emolga who disliked battling, and would use Volt Switch to force another Pokémon into her place when sent into battle. She was also fond of using Attract to infatuate the opponent, and avoid actually battling. Since in the Club Battle tournament, only one Pokémon could be used, Emolga couldn't use Volt Switch without being disqualified; as a result, she actually listened to Iris's commands, and she continued to in later battles.
Luke's Zorua ran off and refused to listen to him after Luke continued to make Zorua play male characters, when as a female, she only wanted to play female characters. Zorua listened to Luke after he apologized.
Bianca's new Escavalier, which had just evolved from a Karrablast by trading her Shelmet for it with Professor Juniper, attacked her when she tried to greet it. Professor Juniper recommended that it have a Double Battle with her new Accelgor, which also evolved during the trade, against Ash's Boldore and Cilan's Crustle. Through half the battle, Escavalier refused to listen to Bianca, which resulted in Accelgor being injured while trying to protect it. Seeing what Accelgor was willing to do for it, Escavalier started to listen to Bianca's commands so it could protect Accelgor as well.
Iris's Dragonite initially refused to listen to her, particularly during the Pokémon World Tournament Junior Cup. He attacked with the moves he wanted to use, rather than the ones Iris commanded, which eventually resulted in Iris's loss against Ash. Slowly but surely, Dragonite started trusting his Trainer, and by Unova's Survival Crisis!, he started to obey Iris.
In the XY series
Ash's Froakie, prior to joining Ash's team, was notorious for being troublesome, going through several Trainers that it proved unsuitable for. Either the Trainer would end up returning it to Professor Sycamore for being disobedient, or it would abandon its new Trainer and return to Professor Sycamore itself; the latter had happened when it met Ash in Kalos, Where Dreams and Adventures Begin!. Even willingly joining Ash's party didn't automatically ensure its obedience; in A Battle of Aerial Mobility!, when a wild Fletchling upset Bonnie by stealing a berry that she was trying to feed to a Dedenne, Froakie attacked the Tiny Robin Pokémon and refused to obey Ash's instructions to back down and leave it to Pikachu. However, Ash realized that the Bubble Frog Pokémon was only trying to stick up for Bonnie and the two came up with a strategy that ultimately resulted in Froakie's payback and Fletchling's capture. This confirmed to Froakie that it had found the right Trainer and it subsequently obeyed Ash without question.
In The Aura Storm!, though it was normally loyal, it was shown that Korrina's Lucario would easily lose control of itself after Mega Evolving, causing it to go berserk and ignore Korrina's orders. Due to this, Gurkinn decided to send Korrina to train with a Mega Evolution expert living at the Pomace Mountain. In The Bonds of Mega Evolution!, Mega Lucario learnt to control itself and it learned Aura Sphere in the process.
Misty's Gyarados was incredibly hostile to her and everyone else when she returned to the Cerulean Gym and was almost the cause of the Gym being closed down in Cerulean Blues. It nearly drowned her in the pool while she was trying to tame it. Gyarados started to obey her when she protected it against the attacks of the Invincible Pokémon Brothers.
In the manga
In the How I Became a Pokémon Card manga
In the Pokémon Adventures manga
There have been some instances where Pokémon don't obey their trainers, most commonly this has been the case for traded Pokémon.
In addition to disobedience caused by trading, there have been some instances where Pokémon do not obey their original trainers.
In Gyarados Splashes In!, Misty's Gyarados, now Red's Gyara, does not obey her. This is a result from Team Rocket's experiments involving Pokémon in which the Pokémon in question had been used, causing its rage.