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Pet Play and Puppies

 

It was a chilly walk down the street to “The Bunker,” as it was called.  So much bouncing around inside my head about this new kink I was about to venture into; puppy play. As I walked, the city was the same; cars honking and sirens blaring in the usual chorus of city sounds.  Everyone in the city was up to their usual antics, but today, today . . . I was on my way to a mosh. The Facebook invitation had given the address and time of what was called a “puppy mosh,” and I still wasn’t sure what to think of it all.  I mean, it was so overwhelming, and I didn’t have any of that gear I had always pictured on puppies: tail, mask, mitts, kneepads, and who knew what else was expected of me! Overwhelmed and excited and just a tad scared, I remember those being the biggest sensations in my stomach as I arrived at the big brick building and rang the buzzer.  It was my first step into puppy play, in educating myself on what it means to be a puppy, but it certainly wouldn’t be my last. As I’ve already stated, this blog is simply one pup’s experience of what puppy play means and involves, and telling the tail of my adventures thus far. Like any typical journey there is a beginning, where the protagonist is just getting his bearings and only beginning to understand the potential within himself, then learning the history and the basics of what lies ahead. So rather than bore you with my personal history again, lets discuss where puppy play has come from, some of the basic pup archetypes that exist, and go from there!

A Brief Hirstory in Pet Play

The House of Hunt portraying Pup Play and Pony Play side by side. Photo by Chris Baggaratzi

The House of Hunt portraying Pup Play and Pony Play side by side. Photo by Chris Baggaratzi

So we’ve already established what puppy play is, a typical situation involves a top/dom handler and a bottom/sub pup, but how did this dynamic begin? Puppy play itself actually sprang from a larger category of animal roleplay, or pet play, which includes pup play, pony play, kitten play, pig play and whatever animal identity the players choose to represent themselves.

While much of this activity has been nailed down to specifics today, pet play didn’t start out so well-defined and, in fact, it’s been around much longer than many realize. Some say that the notion of pet play came from the myths and legends we’ve all heard while growing up — with heroes and villains who told us stories of might and magic in order to teach lessons, usually with some moral encoded within. We can even draw parallels to comics in contemporary life from the pantheon of superheroes: Catwoman, Wildcat,  Batman, and one of my favorites, Wolverine, just to name a few of comic’s iconic characters who take on animal characteristics.

Others would say that culturally, therianthropy was the first form of pet play and a common ritual part in many tribes, in which members of the tribe would take the role physically and often spiritually of an animal revered orhunted. Therianthropy is the metamorphosis of humans into animals via shape-shifting. Other terms you may have heard of that fall under this include: lycanthropy (werewolves), cyanthropy (weredogs), and ailuranthropy (werecats).  In this way, the construct of pet play was seen by the surrounding society as empowering and mystical.

How does this fit into BDSM community?

So knowing all this, how has pet play been incorporated into today’s BDSM world? Even in modern pet play scenes, some continue to regard it as a type of therianthropy, where an “inner pet” is a spirit animal of sorts, a totem, in which the participant seeks to become spiritually closer to his or her pet nature by acting the part and visualizing yourself at one with whatever totem you choose.  Some people find this use of pet play and totems similar to how furries in today’s society use “fursonas” (a furry persona) to portray themselves — but that is another blog post entirely.

For some, pet play can also revolve around power play, degradation, humiliation and any sort of headspace and scenario acceptable to those involved. For others still, this type of play can exist in any space between a 24/7 living house pet, or just the occasional play for a few hours meant to help an individual unwind and forget the shackles and worries of everyday life.  Pet play is up to each consenting adult as to how it is used and for what duration and all parties have a say as to how it is performed and to what length.

But what about puppies!?

Early Pup Play masks

Early Pup Play masks

Puppies, as we’ve discussed, have come from the play in which a person takes on the behaviors of a canine, with a handler or owner caring for that pup.  But what sets puppy play apart from other pets lies in the different classifications of puppies that exist.  One classification of a puppy exists within how puppies are organized or identified on different levels: The Alpha Pup is always top dog,  and under them romp the Beta pups, and lower on the scale there are even Omega pups, too. This type of hierarchy is something often discovered during play scenes — who can top who — or is sometimes determined by a puppy owning another puppy via a collar, or a chain around his neck. In this collaring example, a Handler could collar an Alpha pup, and the Handler or Alpha could then collar a Beta pup and so on. Within the BDSM community, a collared puppy is owned, accounted for and has a handler or master who should always be asked for permission before approaching their pup.

Other classifications of pups help to describe what they are into, and for what periods of time. Dogs are one such subset, which tells us that they are seen as a dog, treated as a pet and that they behave as any real four-legged dog would. They exist to service a master the same as any pet, and they are more comfortable on all fours; the main difference between a dog and a puppy is his goal.  Where a dog is on all fours and looks to physically and mentally portray a canine, a puppy looks to play, be it sexually or not, as a pup with the understanding that they are human at times standing up and doing  things for themselves when need be. Then there are dogboys (or pupboys) who act as a human pup at times and a boy to their Daddy at others. There are also slavepups, who are sometimes a Handler’s pup, other times their Master’s slave and sometimes even a mixture of the two. The constellation is a big one, and growing all the time to incorporate leather pups and rubber pups, which are pups with gear fetishes of one kind or another, and pigpups or pigdogs who have a certain fondness for filth, piss, scat, mud, pain, etc.  Puppies can even be described by their profession, as in Devil Dogs, a term used to describe puppies who are or were once members of the United States Marine Corps.

So how does knowing all this help you become a better puppy? For starters, knowing what you are and where you came from makes for clearer negotiating as a knowledgeable puppy. Understanding what is expected, and what classification of pup you are will only help you and a potential handler connect on a deeper level. And finally, knowing you have rights and a say in what you want is crucial. Some handlers will say there is only one way to train a pup, when in fact, there are many ways in which puppy play has been and can be interpreted. Does that make any one method wrong? Absolutely not! I am simply stating that what works for one puppy and gets his tail wagging will not necessarily be what another puppy has in mind.

When I first stepped foot into that bunker so long ago, I knew nothing of any of this history or even the most basic classifications of pets or pups. This knowledge has been something I have had to pursue through reading books, or scouring the internet, because puppy play is something I wanted to pursue.  Its an activity I love and enjoy, and hope to share with all those who read this blog. I offer this information not only to those considering making that first step into the puppy play scene, but as an invitation to anyone interested in puppy play to educate yourself even further. Puppy play is about being yourself in a different state, a state where you are comfortable, able to relax, be silly or spiritually close to your pup self. But puppy play is also about educating yourself: Learning, being safe, and finding it out what it feels like to truly let go and romp!

AROUUUUUU!

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Amp’in it up!

*sniff…*
*sniff sniff… *

So you’re probably wondering to yourself, “self, who is this crazed, masked freak sniffing me?!”

Well after any good sniffing from a pup comes a proper introduction of who that puppy is. Who, huh? Who is but the form following the function of what, and what I am is a human in a puppy mask.  However, “who” I am is far more important to the substance of this blog than what.  So let me simply say that it’s my “Amp-le” opportunity to auspiciously announce that it’s a pleasure to meet you and that you may call me Amp. I am a human puppy, and I am writing this blog to discuss and explore the world of puppy play.

Like many people in life, I have an interest within a certain community and I want to share ideas, ideals, and answer questions to further the progress of an already growing kink called puppy play.  Human dog training, or puppy, is a playful, loving type of roleplay where one person assumes the role of a pup (playful affectionate sub) while another person, the Handler (caretaker and owner of the pup).   Puppies come in all shapes and sizes, genders and backgrounds — and even breeds; they just happen to see doctors who treat them instead of vets. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet . . . no spoilers!

The Road to Puppy Play…

Let me tell you about my own pedigree. I didn’t always dream of romping around on all fours and barking at squirrels. I too had my own introduction into what constitutes a human puppy.  Ironically enough, I’ve always grown up fascinated by dogs. Growing up as a gay boy in a Catholic grade school, I was somewhat of a stray myself, and I loved how loyal dogs were; how affectionate and unconditional they were in their love (even after you chopped their balls off).

Fast forwarding to 2011, I witnessed the wagging buttplugs and playful masks of puppies for the first time at a local bar.  I was taken aback at first, watching their tails furiously bouncing as the boys romped around nearly naked. But I also noticed one thing inside those floppy hoods: their eyes gleamed, and the way they sparkled with such a playful nature gave off an almost raw representation of their emotions. I was curious. It wasn’t until a camping trip with some gay friends later that year that I first witnessed a puppy and handler outside of gear. The connection they shared was deeper, more meaningful and so fucking adorable compared to any vanilla relationship I had ever seen. I was hooked; I wanted to be a puppy.  So naturally, I did what any boy does to distinguish a human from a dog; I decided to buy a rubber tail and stick it up my ass! Clearly, I was still new to this…

Puppy wants a bone

Amp at The Best in Show Show.

What is Puppy Play to me…

So what have I learned since then, and what is a puppy, anyway? Well, since those first interactions, I have grown as a kinky person and as a pup. I learned quickly after much lube and discomfort, that a tail is not what makes the pup.  No, a pup is distinguished by his actions and instincts: loving and loyal, inquisitive and playful, and, from time to time, full of mischief. So what is and isn’t puppy play? Puppy play is not about bestiality.  Similarly, puppies are not about humiliation, at least not initially. At the core, puppies are about that unconditional love, that spark of playfulness in a pup’s eye when he sees a squeaky toy, and that connection I had witnessed so long ago while camping.  Being a puppy —  to me — is about an opportunity to step outside my identity in the world of responsible adults who have bills to pay and jobs to do.   Amp provides a much-needed outlet to unwind, to be my puppy self and be as playful and sexual as I want with my handler.

Getting Involved…

I’m blessed that Seattle has such a wonderful kink community and active pup group, Sea-Pah (Seattle Pups and Handlers), both communities of which have always given me a safe place I felt accepted and appreciated.  Since becoming a pup, I’ve competed in a number of events like The Best In Show Show (held by SEA-PAH) and the Northwest Puppy (held by Cascadia Leather Rising) both events of which I won runner-up awards and enjoyed a tail-wagging good time. I’ve been to a number of major leather and rubber events, including IML and Rubbout. Similarly, I’m also involved as the current “Barketing Manager” who handles all graphics and marketing on the Sea-Pah Board of Directors, where I assist in fundraising events.   I’ve networked with pups around the world and started to produce and distribute pup fetish gear providing pups with a way to show pride wherever they go.

So let me just end by saying that I cannot wait to dive in, doggy-paddle furiously, maybe even splash a cat or two as I start this blog. I look forward to discussing the full range of pup topics, answering questions, and, with any luck, shedding new light on the diversity of viewpoints in the ever-expanding universe of puppy play.  More than even that, though, I want to give back to a community that has given me so much!

Like, share, comment and question, and I’ll catch you kinksters later! Dont forget to follow me on Twitter and Facebook
ARROUU!!!
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