Who Let the Dogs Out

This beginner’s guide to puppy play should really give you something to woof about.
August 13, 2014


Puppy play is one of the more interesting and, let’s face it, oddly adorable fetishes out there. But, like many aspects of BDSM, seeing a cute boy in a puppy mask or walking around on a leash is just the tip of the iceberg. For those of you aspiring pups and handlers, here’s an introductory guide to unleashing—or leashing, rather—your inner pup, just in time for The Eagle’s monthly Pup Night.

 

TERMINOLOGY

Pup
This one is pretty clear. The submissive in this relationship is the pup or puppy.
 
Handler
Unlike other fetish relationships that involve power play, the preferred term for a pup’s partner is “handler,” which sets it apart from BDSM master/slave relationship. But some pups do call their partners “master.” It really comes down to preference.
 
 

TIPS

Fetish expert Nick Stryker gave us some tips for both puppies and their handlers. 

FOR PUPS:

Know what you’re getting out of it. Are you looking to simply spend some mindless time behaving like an animal or do you need a strict training regimen?
 
Non-verbal communication. Puppies can’t talk, so you need to be able to express yourself with your body language. Your handler needs to know when you need water, treats, and affection, so you need to use your body to tell them that.
 
It will feel silly at first. You’re on your knees barking and pretending to be a dog, so yes, there will be times when you’re starting out when you feel dumb. But once you’ve gotten into your headspace, you’ll transcend that and you’ll become the pup you’ve always wanted to be.
 
Posture. You’ll need to be able to hold poses for long periods of time. Think Westminster! Yoga will help prepare your body to hold that perfect puppy pose.
 

FOR HANDLERS:

Negotiation. Almost every gay man regularly has the “what are you into” conversation, and negotiation is just an extension of that. You need to establish ground rules and limits with your pup, and it needs to happen at the beginning. Is your puppy a vegetarian? Then you need to know so that you don’t offer him a meat treat.
 
Give him a reason to be your pup. This is a dog that is worshipping you, cherishing you. He looks up to you, literally and metaphorically. You have to give him a reason to do this. You have to create a reason for him to worship you.
 
Patience. You’re dealing with a dog. Pups are people, but people are pups.
 
Be explicit and exact. Just like you would with a dog, you need to be direct. 
 
Puppy play is ultimately not about dominance or abuse. The sole basis is the loyal interaction between master and pup.
 
 

GEAR

Knee Pads
If you’re playing the role of a dog, you’re going to spend time on your hands and knees, and unless you’re a serious masochist, you want some cushioning. Many pups and handlers agree that this is the most functionally important piece of gear.
 
Collar
What’s a dog without his collar, after all?
 
Leash
Who let the dogs out? No one, because they’re on a leash. Any good handler obeys the city’s leash laws! A little tug every now and then provides guidance and reassurance.
 
Butt Plugs
They don’t just get you loose and keep you that way, there are also plugs that come with tails, for the full wagging experience.
 
Masks/Hoods
Become a real puppy with a transformative leather, latex, or neoprene mask—ears, muzzle, and all!
 
Treats
Arguably the most important part of puppy play,  pups deserve rewards for good behavior. A treat can be anything from a Cheeto, a sniff of a stinky jock, or a load in the mouth.
 
 
August Pup Night at The Eagle, 554 W 28th St (btwn 10th/11th Aves), August 22 at 9pm; free. Visit eaglenyc.com for more info.