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Interview with a Handler

In the last post, I interviewed my handler, Kevin, about the ins-and-outs (both physically and mentally ;D) of establishing and nurturing a puppy/handler relationship and we put out the word that we’d be happy to answer any questions from those seeking more detail or simply want us to address a topic that wasn’t covered in our first exchange.
The questions, much like the pups and handlers themselves, varied widely in topic, scope and seriousness. And you know how they say there’s no such thing as a stupid question? Well, some of you out there were definitely trying to see if you couldn’t challenge that idea.
So… without further ado, it’s time for those burning questions (and if that burning continues, you might want to consult your doc), and our attempt to answer them.

Q: )What is it about being a handler while having a PUP that makes you transcend?

KEVIN: Having a puppy, a human one, is for me one of the most precious gifts a guy can be lucky enough to get. Some handlers regard their pups as slaves, some regard them as boys with tails, and others just think of them in the sense of playing out back with a ball, or attending a mosh. For me, it’s a sacred bond. The pup in question (the amazing Amp, in my case) is laying himself bare, and all that you see before you in its beauty is something that is your responsibility as a handler to care for, to nurture and to keep safe. Transcendence, as I understand it, means entering a different plane of mental existence. Certainly when I’m in handler space, all I’m concerned with is growing the bond of love between Amp and myself.

Q: Can we be friends?

Amp and Kevin: Until we know a reason you shouldn’t be … sure, why not?

Q: Being a handler, what kind of enjoyment do you get from having a pup?

KEVIN: I get the unfiltered, unconditional pure rush of affection and devotion from a human being that most only get from a pet. Seeing Amp in real headspace (not the quasi-headspace of a mosh or competition where you have to keep some form of mindfulness in order to not get yourself or anyone else hurt) is a magical display of what two people can do when they’re both dedicated to helping the other find joy and release from the everyday world — and they trust each other to do just that.

Q: What’s your opinion of The Fifth Element, starring Bruce Willis (really guys? lol)?

KEVIN: It’s a B+ sci-fi flick in which Willis’ character refers to himself as a “meatsicle,” which I’ve always thought very funny. However, Willis is also a raging conservative who once cheered Pat Buchannan’s speech at the Republican National Convention calling for a “culture war” against abortionists and homosexuals. I think he’s a terrific actor and a complete douche. Have I gone to the multiplex and seen him since? Yes. And I always buy a ticket for another movie that’s showing around the same time so that he doesn’t get a single dime from me.

Q: How do you, as a trainer, put and keep a pup in headspace?

KEVIN: Well, from having put half a dozen or so pups into headspace over the last year, I can tell you that no two are identical, but they all have common traits. I do have a series of meditations that I use to help escort a guy from his normal plane of consciousness into a deeper communion, primarily with himself. A handler who makes headspace about himself (being worshipped is a common theme) is focusing on the wrong person, if you ask me. I like to “show” through visualization, the person what his pup persona looks like — to him, in his mind’s eye. Rather than forcing my ideals of a pup on them, they can form their own persona and pup self as they see it. And once they’re eyeball to eyeball in that trance moment, I will ask the person to slip over and feel what it’s like to look out from the pup’s eyes. I’ve used mirrors, waterfalls, lakes, and memory as triggers, and I’ve had a pretty fair success rate, if I do say so myself. Happy pups tell you all you need to know. Keeping them there? You have to keep actively reinforcing the metaphor of person-as-pup. You go for a walk (which you could do actually, or in an imaginary world), you play ball; you feed your pup treats (we like lunch meat. It’s healthy and full of protein.), you let him nap on your chest. Activities will reinforce the trance, and make it that much easier to access headspace the next time.

Q: What does being a pup mean to you?

AMP: Well I’ve gone over this topic a number of times, but, in short, being a pup means that I’m into kink, leather, wrestling around and acting like a human puppy.  Being a pup means that I’m playful and cuddly, loving and loyal to friends and handlers I hold close and that I’m putting myself out there to be a part of a community that is supportive and all about fun.  Similarly, it is a way for me to mentally connect on another level with people I hold close, more specifically, a handler I hold close.  I use puppy play and call myself a pup because I enjoy the activities it brings, the people it brings into my life and the open and honest expression I can express.

Q: What does being a handler mean to you?

KEVIN: For me, it means that I have accepted the role of guardian to my pup. No one will hurt him, approach him, scare him, or do anything I don’t approve of, and I do that as I was selected to by the pup who wears my collar. That said, I try to make my choices based not on my own ego, but on Amp’s needs, wants and what I think will most likely nurture or fascinate him. I have stumbled, on occasion, as has my pup. But that’s the nature of who we are as fallible individuals. You make a mistake, you apologize, pick yourself up and move on.

Q: What (as a handler) do you gain from training a puppy, apart from the experience of just owning a puppy?

KEVIN: I get the deep satisfaction of knowing that every bit of tender loving care I put into our bond comes shining out whenever Amp is present. When we attended the International Puppy Competition last November in Florida, you can ask anyone: No one was more proud, more devoted to his pup, or closer than the two of us were. What I gained, beyond that, was a deep sense of who I am and what I do. I mentor, and I nurture, and Amp gives me plenty of opportunities to do both.

And with that last question, I think it’s about time to wrap this posting up.  If you guys have any other questions or comments to myself or to Kevin, please send them our way.   Puppy play is a magical activity that is performed in many different ways, share your experiences here or tell us what you think we should talk about next.  Until then, keep those tails wagging and we will catcha later!! AROUUUUUUUU

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A handlers point of view

The topic of today’s post is one near and dear to my heart: Bonds. Only this time, they’re not the ropey ones you might expect that often begin with lube and end with a splat or two in several directions. No, this time, the bond is an emotional one, and it’s the one I share with my handler, Kevin.

Many pups seek a handler not really knowing who they are as a group, or even knowing many of them as individuals. I can tell you that from my experience, they’re just as diverse as puppies, and when the right handler meets the right pup, their dynamic together can be as powerful as any I’ve ever seen. Now, not all puppies and handlers get into our frisky little fetish the same way, and my handler and I are a great example of that. So, let me just say how glad I am that my Daddy and handler, Kevin, has agreed to contribute to the blog and share his own perspective.

AMP:

First off, let me ask you about how you got into puppy play…

KEVIN:

Well, as you know, we came at it from very different perspectives originally. My first experience of puppy play was attending a puppy night just by accident in Amsterdam while on vacation. It was lots of heavy industrial music interrupted by “How Much is That Doggie In the Window?” Guys in tails and hoods and not much else, lifting their legs on each other and doing dog tricks in competition. I just thought it was otherworldly. My husband was instantly turned off and remains so to this day.
But about a year later, I was in a bar here in town and this cute guy comes up to me and says, “Woof.” Since that’s a common expression in the bear community, I thought nothing of it, and I said, “Hi.” Instead of responding, he put his head between my pecs and nuzzled me, looking up into my eyes. “Woof,” he said again. And then he just pulled away and wandered off into the crowd. That was when I really got intrigued as to what puppy play was. Before, I thought like a lot of people do, that it was a sort of surrogate beastiality, where guys were fucking guys pretending to be animals because it was too gross or illegal to actually do it.

AMP:

And then you found me.

KEVIN:

We found each other, that’s true. I did some reading and was very attracted to the idea of nurturing and mentoring, and puppy play seemed to offer that. But you found me through being part of the kink community — and a certain number of the people in that world do puppy play simply for fun and as a sexual fantasy and release, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But I came at puppy play to be able to express love and be a caretaking mentor. As you’ve often heard me joke, “Some guys say their cocks are hardwired to their nipples; mine is hardwired to my heart.”

AMP:

And that’s led to some bumps in the road for us.

KEVIN:

True. But that’s also one of the reasons we’re still together almost a year later. I know that for some arrangements, a pair will get together and set up all their rules of engagement before they ever begin and try not to deviate from those protocols. But I was more about finding the right pup for me, and then having our bond evolve to follow the trajectory of our growth.

AMP:

Speaking of which, how do you think a pair keeps their bond solid and moving in the right direction?

KEVIN:

Well, for me, I like having the constant things, those reminders of who you are to each other. And they’re like little creature comfort things. We like to nuzzle and watch “Sherlock” or “Walking Dead,” as well as suit up for the local monthly Fetish Night at the bar or do those things that puppies and handlers will do when the lights are low (smiling). But, we’d never been to an actual cinema together until recently because for some strange reason, they insist you wear clothes. Turns out and we both had a blast going to see “Frozen” — not just because it was a great movie, but because it was something new to share. So I like having a combination of the dependable things we do regularly and each of us contributing suggestions of new adventures to come. For example, we just attended a competition, where we got to meet other pups and their handlers and watch how their dynamics are both similar and different from our own. From some, we got ideas of things we’d like to try in and out of the bedroom, and from others, we saw just how much drama there is when the rules are too rigid, too vague, or just too poorly communicated.

And with that, there are so many more questions to ask, and rest assured each will be answered. Next week we will continue to ask hard-hitting questions that reflect on what handler do and how they handle situations with pups. Got a question only a handler can answer? Well leave a comment below and we will have Kevin back next week to answer any inquiries. As always, be safe and keep wagging!

AROUUUUUUU!!

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Commenting On Your Comments

As we start a new year, it feels as though new puppies are coming out of the woodwork everywhere – new organizations being formed and competitions being announced.  And with that, comes a new population of puppies, some experienced, some completely new to the community that lies before them.  To the newcomers, I say welcome to the crazy, opinionated, sometimes unruly and dramatic world that is puppy play; and to the more veteran pups, I ask that you don’t scare the fuck out of the new puppies (how else are we going to resupply if you scare away the fresh meat?).  But in all seriousness, as we head into this new year of fun and play, I look back onto a year full of so many exciting events full of new people, puppies, leathermen and otherwise.  I also, in this being a still new space to which I blog and share opinions, look back onto questions and comments I’ve accumulated over the past couple months. So for today, rather than covering a specific topic, I’m going to comment on your comments, looking back at what was 2013, and answer any lingering questions, comments or opinions that were otherwise still needing to be addressed.

Puppy Comment: “My biggest question about getting into puppy play is how to get started.”

Response: Well let’s start by addressing a very general question that we all have had at one point or another if we’ve been interested in puppy play: “How do I start?” Well the simple answer to that is to be a puppy, be educated and be curious.  Do your research, find a local PAH (Puppies and Handler) group of some kind that you can join.  If no pup group exists in your area, I highly recommend checking out the many puppy groups that exist on Facebook for the very nature of finding other puppies and communicating.  If even that is too daunting a task, to start playing like a pup, visualize what puppies do and how they act, reflect and see yourself as a puppy, focusing on that inner persona and playfulness you wish to capture and see what happens.

Puppy Comment: “Do all puppies have handlers, and if so how does one find a handler?”

Response: Regarding whether all puppies have handlers, the simple answer is no. It all depends on what a puppy wants in his/her puppy relationship, however that looks to them.   Some puppies are looking for a handler/master/trainer while others feel they do not need or even want one.  So to answer that part of the question, no, not all puppies have or need a handler; puppies can be just that: puppies.  As for the how to find a handler, I refer you to a previous blog post that covers that very topic in detail: .

Puppy comment:  “I am super interested in puppy play, but I’ve been discouraged by my Sirs/Mentors about going down this route, as they think getting into puppy play would lessen my ability to be a boy and may restrict myself.”

Response: Preposterous! While being a puppy may get you into a few “restricting” positions *wink*, to assume that being a puppy makes you less of a boy/slave/person in any way shape or form would be making an assumption.  Unless of course they are not only leather masters, but also masters of telepathy and therefore know what you’re thinking.  The fact that you’ve come to this blog would assume that you are at least the a bit interested in puppy play.  In response to any Sirs or Mentors that you may play with, I might tell them that puppy play helps people of all shapes/sizes/genders/backgrounds to open up, and join a community that accepts and empowers them to be more than they thought they could before, not less. The puppy community at times is more accepting than any other group I’ve ever had the opportunity to be a part of. Boys can be puppies, puppies can be boys, Sirs can even be puppies if they want; being a puppy does not detract from a boy headspace, simply adds another facet to who YOU are.

Rather than look at what puppy play seems to be, explain what it is or what you would like it to be to you to your Sir/Mentor. Explain that its about fun, growth, and being yourself in a very primal, very bare bones, innocent sort of way.  I would, in this situation, ask what reservation that your Sir or Mentor has against puppy play, what causes the stigma he has and most importantly, tell him how interested you are in it.  A relationship of any kind where a submissive answers to dominant of some kind is always revolving around and about communication.

Puppy Comment: “How do I begin training as a pup and learning the headspace specifically?

Response: While similar to question one, I find the additional question about headspace the real meat of this question (Mmmmmm meat).  Before we discuss specifically how one can (results may vary) “get into” headspace, lets quickly define “headspace”. Headspace, oddly enough, is best described by urban dictionary as: “The state of mind/consciousness you are in. It may or may not be an altered frame of mind.”

For some, getting into headspace requires a bit of visualization or meditating, and I will direct you to Sirius pups FCT (first collar training) as I believe they do a wonderful job of explaining it in a nice video: .  For others, headspace is about getting into their pup gear: hoods, paws, tail and so forth; like an actor putting on a costume, the puppy needs their alter ego’s wear in order to bring them to fruition.  Finally, the last idea I will leave you with is to find someone who is your superior in this area, someone knowledgeable in puppy play, and feel them out, play and just experience the activity while feeling out what you like and maybe dislike about puppy play.  What gets some into headspace, may in fact, bring you out of it, and so trial and error may be your best way to get into a headspace; besides, as your parents always said, you’ll never know if you like it until you try it.

And with that, I’m in the proper headspace to head to bed and call it a night.  If you like this sort of Q and A sort of blocking, where I give you an honest opinion as someone who always has a pup’s best interests at heart, please like, fav, comment and share.  A community is nothing without the people, puppies and hanlders that make it, so lets look forward to 2014 and continue being the inquisitive, insightful and kinky individuals we all look to be!
ARROUUU

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Genders, Sexes, Shapes and Sizes

One of the first things we learn to do as humans is to sort — it’s practically instinctual. Over time, we learn to sort hot from cold, dark from light, Gryffindor from Slytherin, and more to the point of this post; boy from girl, young from old, and fit from fat. What’s fascinating about puppy play is how wonderful an activity it is for a mind to explore. You’re able to create an alternate you; a persona, an alter-puppy-ego that provides a way to escape the narrow confines of our daily lives and explore beyond the boundaries of our human instincts. And yet our human instinct to sort, like any good safety net, remains in the back of our minds even while we’re in pup mode, sorting what is important to each of us as puppies.

Sorting “real” puppies…

For example, most will start to sort at moshes or play parties when they begin to identify other puppies according to their characteristics, genders, and even body types. But as our puppy brains start sorting, they may also begin to denigrate some puppies because of what they are and how they look, not because of their personalities as puppies. I am forever hearing about how pups need to come together as a community and create a positive awareness online. And yet, each of us plays a part, our part, in creating a hierarchy among the puppies we encounter. Some take it so far as to lecture others about how they aren’t or can’t be a puppy for a number of reasons. It’s clear that sorting, while natural, also contains the building blocks of prejudice, and it’s this particular kind of sorting that eats away at what I consider the only real rule in puppy play: allowing ourselves the freedom to just “be”  — and in that act, totally being yourself.

Unconsciously or not, we all sort puppies by gender and sexuality, but the real question is whether you turn that instinct to sort into a judgment and act on it, rather than allowing someone else the same freedom that brought you into puppy play in the first place. For what is often considered a male dominated kink, there are still a good number of female puppies within the pup community who deserve both respect and an opportunity to contribute to the community. At times, I have seen male puppies express how their female counterparts are not “real” pups in the community sense.  To them I ask, “what distinguishes a ‘real’ puppy, anyway?” And who has the right to declare puppy play a male-only activity?  We can look back in history and see how women have slowly gained rights, played sports, and even been welcomed into armed combat as comrades. Is it possible that this stigma against women only further hinders their growth and therefore prevents further female puppies from coming out of the woodwork? Moreover, this stigma only leads to more sorting done in the community as far as someone age, weight or even looks.

Shun, tolerate, accept…

For some puppies, play is all about being sexual and nothing else, and I’ll freely admit that when a female pup is at a mosh, the dynamic usually changes and the rules of engagement aren’t always immediately clear. Some puppies cannot mosh with a female present; they become immediately popped out of headspace because of their reason for moshing, which is most likely about the male sexual aspects, the “male energy” that needs to be present.  But rather than shun someone, doesn’t it make more sense just to hang back and see how the situation develops? What is to say a female puppy doesn’t have a very “male energy,” playful, dominant and full of pup?

When a mostly male community sees a female (or even some outlying pup based on size or shape) in their midst there are, in my mind, three things that can be done: shun, tolerate or accept. Firstly, to shun a newcomer within the community is to ensure their experiences and views on the pup community are negative and may even chase them off.  To tolerate would be a more open-minded state, where we are able to recognize someone’s interest, and while we may not understand the appeal or want anything to do with the individual, we admit them to the group, recognize and respect their right to sexually explore play in a safe and fun atmosphere.  Finally, and in my opinion the most open minded choice, is acceptance; to receive this individual whatever sex, gender or body type and admit them to the group regardless if that means you plan to engage in play.

Community: a feeling of fellowship…

Insofar as someone’s involvement in puppy play is concerned, I think it’s both wasted time and none of our business to assess why someone considers himself or herself a puppy. It’s far more useful to examine we each consider ourselves puppies and do what we love and look to pup play for. If that means you don’t want to deal with different genders, ages, or sizes of pups, then maybe that means you practice pup play in a more private atmosphere at your own liberty. However, if you plan to be a part of a community, a certain level of tolerance, at the least acceptance, is due on your part to make people feel like they are part of a community. Did someone challenge you when you came out as a pup to show some pedigree or credentials, or were you simply taken at your word? And, if you’re so focused on who meets all the criteria on your checklist, what is your real intent, and what is your true goal as a pup in the community?

For some it’s simply play and fun, and sex, gender, age and body type are the farthest things from their minds while in pupspace. But almost all of us agree that it’s an opportunity to lay down the burdens of their normal lives for a moment and play in a place free from judgments. For any community to grow and become more mainstream and accepted we must show that we can also be accepting. Part of setting aside all of that thinking we do as humans should be our dismissing the differences between us and focusing more on the common bond we all share: Puppy!

ARRROU!!

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Doggy Definitions

dog_readingDefinitions are a fascinating thing – to define something is to give it meaning, but who’s to say a word has a single meaning?  In the same way a story has multiple views or contexts, multiple lessons to learn, so too, does a definition have multiple perspectives and meanings. In a way, to redefine someone or one’s self is a way to add a new perspective to how a person is perceived or how they view of the world.  One such way to redefine yourself, is to grow and explore new exciting kinks and what they mean: puppy play, bondage, fisting, water sports, etc.

For kinky puppies especially, knowing what defines you, what gets your tail-wagging and sexual juices flowing, is a way to not only feel more in tune with yourself, but ensure a fun, open and communicative sexual lifestyle.  What better to expand your intellect, than to redefine words you already know and use them from a new perspective on all-fours!?

This week, for the fun of it, I’ve decided to redefine some things that we instinctively know the definition to, but from the perspective of a pup. I want to capture the fun, magic and playfulness of this art and redefine some very key puppy play related terms in this pup dictionary, or Puptionary. As always, I hope you enjoy!

 

Puptionary

BACON: a divine human food usually salted and dried or smoked, sliced thin and fried. Also seen as a treat for good pups; while the smell is intoxicating to any surrounding puppies, the only sure way to acquire this sustenance is to sit pretty and beg with an upward look no Handler can resist.

BATH: If you find something especially good to roll in, Handlers get jealous and they use this degrading form of torture to get even. Be sure to shake only when next to a person or a piece of furniture.

BICYCLES: Two-wheeled exercise machines, invented for pups to control body fat. To get maximum aerobic benefit, you must hide behind a bush and dash out, bark loudly and run alongside for a few yards. The person then swerves and falls into the bushes, and you prance away.

BONE: also see “treat,” one of the structures Handlers hide in their pants, with proper stimulation, bones are known to get bigger; puppies are known to bury bones in many places.

BUMP: The best way to get your Handler’s attention when they are drinking a fresh cup of coffee or tea.

DEAFNESS: This is a malady which affects pups when their person wants them in and they want to stay out. Symptoms include staring blankly at the person, then running in the opposite direction or lying down.

GARBAGE CAN: A container which your neighbors put out once a week to test your ingenuity. You must stand on your hind legs and try to push the lid off with your nose. If you do it right you are rewarded with margarine wrappers to shred, beef bones to consume and moldy crusts of bread.

LOVE: A feeling of intense affection, given freely and without restriction. The best way you can show your love is to wag your tail. If you’re lucky, a Handler will love you in return.

SCRITCHES/SCRATCHES: also see “treat,” this form of endearment is usually a way for Handler or other appropriated persons to say “hello” or show good behavior has been performed by a puppy. Key spots include: top of the head, tummy, butt and back.

SNIFF: A social custom used to greet other pups, similar to the Handler exchange of business cards or shaking of hands.

SQUIRREL: these beings are small, furry, usually brown and require immediate attention via barking. At times, depending on headspace, it is also appropriate to yell “Squirrel!” as to allow any pups in the immediate vicinity the alert.

THUNDER: This is a signal that the world is coming to an end. Handlers remain amazingly calm during thunderstorms, so it is necessary to warn them of the danger by trembling uncontrollably, panting, rolling your eyes wildly and following at their heels.

TREAT: entertainment, food, etc., given by way of Handler to pup by some sort of chewable object such as bacon, bone, toy. Treats are of the upmost importance and reason enough to perform menial tasks and “tricks” for a handler.

VET: also known as “car rides,” a hospital where puppies are taken to appraise, verify, or check for accuracy of their health.  A clever front to remove ensure the removal of a puppy’s sexual reproductive capabilities; while no accurate way to respond to this horrific trip exists, shaking uncontrollably or whining loudly sometimes works.

WASTEBASKET: This is a pup toy filled with paper, envelopes and old candy wrappers. It is important to evenly distribute its contents throughout the house before your person comes home.

How to add to the Puptionary…

Got some words you want to redefine or add to this small, but growing dictionary? Send them in or add some words to the comments below so we can do this Puptionary filled up! Join us next week as we continue the squirrel-chasing fun of puppy play!

AROUUUUUUU!

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How to find a handler…

As I fly home from Tampa, Florida, I’m given a few hours just to reflect. For those of you who might not know, I had the honor and opportunity to compete in a little competition called International Puppy 2014 . . . No Biggie.  What made the trip so exciting and wonderful were the many different types of puppies we met, the different kinds of handler and pup dynamics, and just seeing how these types of puppies conduct themselves in large social settings. We met rubber pups, leather pups, boy pups, slave pups, alphas, betas, strays, and even puppies who didn’t want or need a handler. Even better, I was able to take this trip with my handler by my side, giving me constant support as I competed. My handler was, in all respects, there for me: helping me practice my speech, which you can view here, assisting my costume changes, and ensuring I was hydrated during photo shoots while emotionally and physically holding my hand and encouraging me 110%. As a puppy, having that sort of bonding time with your handler is what makes puppy play what it should be: Fun! I have a new respect for not only my handler for all he does, but handlers in general for putting up with our butt plugs, barking and constant need of nuzzles and attention. Even at competitions like International Puppy where the focus is mostly on the pup, we have to give credit to the handler in large part. It just wouldn’t run as smoothly without them helping behind the scenes, whether it’s grabbing entire costume changes at the last minute or providing first aid for obstacle course injuries — to name just a few of my own experiences. Being a handler is by no means a small responsibility, but I want to take this opportunity to thank mine from the bottom of my heart for being my handler and making my pup self the luckiest puppy ever!

Making the connection…

DSC_6489

With that said, let’s get into the real meat of this topic: essentially it’s how and where puppies and handlers find one another. I’ve asked this question before of a number of people and have gotten a wide variety of replies. Often, the first response you hear is “online.” With social networking accounting for large percentages of online relationships, and puppies still being a very spread thin in many local communities, the internet has exploded with pups (which is ironic considering paws don’t actually make for easy typing). Every day I check my Pup Amp Facebook page only to discover a new friend request from a pup or two, usually accompanied with nuzzles and licks on my wall. As far as social networking goes, I think it’s done a wonderful thing for puppies and handlers: it has a given a low entry level for being a pup publically, allowed for making new pup friends, and finding potential handlers, whether they’re local or virtual. In fact, more than half the people I met in person at International Puppy this last weekend I had already interacted with at least once in an online chat — and many of them were handlers looking for pups.

In the very same way that social networking allows for “easy access” when searching for a pup/handler, another popular answer to “how did you meet your handler/pup” is “through online dating apps.” With apps like Recon, Scruff and Growlr, we see a whole community of handler/pup candidates at the very tips of our puppy paws who are virtually available 24/7. Ironically enough, Scruff is where I found my handler, Kevin, as well. I recommend dating apps for finding new people in your area, but with an additional word of warning about catfish as well (you can read that post here)  Never assume anything about someone you’ve only met online. Always be cautious and aware that you, as a pup or a handler, have rights and can make choices when looking for your pup play counterpart.

Last, but far from least remains another fairly typical answer to finding a handler is to simply not to look in the first place! I like to think that being yourself is ultimately what someone will be drawn to or put off by, and if being a puppy just happens to be the icing on the cake — hey, even better! You’d be surprised how many times I hear how someone goes on a date, totally unsuspecting that the other person might have their own kinks, only to find a pup or handler sitting across the table from them.  Similarly, I’ve even had a pup friend approached at a bar by a stranger who got the pup’s attention by calling him “puppy,” out of nowhere. And it was all downhill from there. Not looking and keeping options open is the most stress-free way to find a pup or handler,  and that approach will provide for less desperate circumstances and pave the way for a more organic relationship to form.

Always protect yourself…DSC_6688

Once you’ve gotten through all that risk-taking and connection-making and you’ve found a prospective handler or pup, then what? First and foremost, you have to test that person out, make a checklist of need/wants/red flags and start chatting. Make sure this person is who you want and who he/she says they are. I’ll be the first to admit to doing some cyberstalking of new love interests, be it puppy or not. Everyone in today’s day and age has at least some sort of Facebook presence, and you should never feel bad for doing a discreet background check of your own to keep yourself safe. And well before you start the negotiations, you should make sure you click with the person. Get to know the person you’re interested in and consider your chat a kind of job interview, but with a lot more lube. Speaking from the personal experience my handler and I had, we moved after chatting on Scruff to very detailed e-mails back and forth where we really got to know each other and began to make a deep connection. These e-mails were also well before making any plans to meet in person. (The funniest part, we found later, was that we had more than a few common friends and had actually met at a birthday party a month or two before we found each other online and started to discuss puppies.) We made ourselves as transparent as possible and began our negotiations and stated expectations from there. While some of those initial expectations have stayed the same over time, a relationship such as this tends to also evolve as involved parties work to maintain open lines of communication.

When it’s all said and done, the most important thing is to be yourself — and expect no less from any perspective pup or handler.I can promise you will know if that next person is right for you when they come along. Explore and experience the pup community, but know that a handler does not make a pup, and a pup does not make a handler. Be open, be safe, be consensual, and don’t forget to have some tail-wagging and squirrel chasing fun along the way!

ARRROU!

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Something Fishy

Catfish are a rare breed of fish in the kink community. Easy on the palette initially, catfish are a delicacy that’s never sought after, but it’s likely everyone will find it on the menu eventually. And make no mistake: Catfish are clever. They flop around for your attention and they might even give you a taste or two to whet your appetite. But before you know it — and long after you’re hooked and wanting more, they swim off — leaving you emptier than you were before encountering them. Even considering how fishy they truly smell (given the heightened senses of a puppy’s nose), a few catfish can slip past even the smartest and most aware puppies. As urban dictionary so appropriately describes them: “A catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they’re not, using Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances,” and while that definition may appear somewhat harmless in the abstract, it doesn’t begin to account for the emotional damage a catfish can wreak on a pup.

How do I know? Well, there was a point in time when I was just getting into kink in general, before I knew I wanted to be a pup, that I started pursuing possible love interests/dates/play. Signing onto the many dating apps and chat rooms opened up a whole new world for me; one that offered many different points of view, with no one to tell me no, or direct me, or say, “Hey, get on your knees and suck this.” (At least I think that’s how a Disney movie would put it). But seriously, I was thrilled to know that I could log on and see who was within a 15-mile radius of my current location and exchange dirty/flirty comments with guys who wanted to do horrible, horrible, perversely awesome things to me. Even knowing this though, I was cautious: I did my weeding through the junk mail and creepers and chatted nicely with someone for long periods of time before meeting up, or even considering a “meat-and-greet,” for that matter.

Personal experiences…

Then he messaged me — the fishiest guy I’d ever had the chance to “meet” online. We chatted for what seemed like weeks, off and on. And at first, I was cautious of a guy who lived 500 miles away who had “happened” upon my profile that one day. At the time, he had a personality that was charming and dominant, with an endless supply of pictures for any occasion to back up those traits. He seemed legitimate. Weeks turned into a month, and wouldn’t you know it, but he was planning to move to my home city; he was looking for a new start and a new man to go with his new life. This should have been more than enough for me to say, “hold your horses” (or seahorses, in fish context), but I was still hopeful to meet this gorgeous guy who knew how to push my buttons. He continued to chat with me, lead me on, call me his pup and tell me of all the kinky things he knew I wanted done to me — all the while fishing for new details to keep me hooked. He would set a date for when he planned to visit, but some unforeseen disaster would always keep him from making good on his promise. He’d lost his job; his mother had a heart attack, there was a car accident . . .  whatever.

In conclusion…

That’s when I learned that the second you question a catfish or get upset because something smells fishy, he pivots to put the shame and blame on you for being insensitive or slow to trust. Long story short, I got somewhat attached to our conversations, but he never did visit. As a result, I became evermore cautious online. I also learned a good deal about protecting myself and my emotions — and about taking time to do the proper background checks that should accompany any kinky encounter.
Puppies, bless all their tail-wagging, squirrel-chasing hearts, are a rambunctious and affectionate bunch of kinksters. But sometimes, they’re naive and rush to attach to someone new and promising. They love unconditionally, follow those they hold close to the ends of the Earth, and they can often be very submissive. Puppies are also incredibly loyal to those who will chat and make them feel loved and cared for. Similarly, as online dating becomes more mainstream — with 59% of Americans regarding online introductions as a beneficial addition to the dating process (Herald News) — catfish are having a blast! I know several puppies who have fallen into a funk once a catfish has duped them, and just as many pups who’ve been taken advantage of because of how they’ve been told a puppy ought to behave. Puppies always have rights, though. And it’s certainly possible to avoid catfish and other fishy guys by keeping a few fundamentals in mind. This week, I’d alike to point out a few easy steps that will always ensure you pups go into a kinky discussion/playdate/whatever feeling safe, secure and ensuring you don’t get catfished:

  1. Trust your instincts. If it feels wrong, back off, ask more questions, or move on. Think with your brain, and not your dick. If it smells like a fish and acts like a fish, it’s probably a fish!
  2. Don’t play or plan to play privately with a stranger you don’t know. Do your background checks. Find them on Facebook. Ask them who they know in the kink/pup/bondage/daddy/sir/boy community in your area. The people who are worth playing with have real names, places where they work and and should have a circle of friends who will vouch for them.
  3. You have a voice! You don’t have to do what they say (and certainly not in this early discovery phase). A playdate/date/relationship, be it kinky or not, is about communicating. Remember that no one can take power from you that you don’t willingly surrender. It’s fine that you want to submit, but be sure first that the person you’re submitting to is going to treat you with respect for your safety and boundaries.
  4. Know what you’re getting into and be clear with the person you’re chatting with about precisely what is going to happen and how.
  5. Never assume. Always have a backup plan in case of a disaster. Play cautiously and never give anyone the benefit of the doubt without them first earning your trust.
  6. Never give out any personal information that could cause you trouble in the long run. Again, don’t trust anyone without them demonstrating first that they are trustworthy.
  7. Don’t think that just because they seem perfect, that they are. Catfish know how to play to your weaknesses and push your buttons. It’s a game they play very well.

Now go fish. And may your next catch be the guy of your dreams… literally!

ARROUU!!

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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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