Puppy Play 101

 
This is a work in progress

What is puppy play?
Puppy play is when one person takes on the role of a pup or dog and another takes that of the handler or trainer. The pup acts like their canine counterpart and the trainer, for the most part, handles the pup like he would a biological pup.
It's not necessarily a sexual play, though it can be. For many it serves as a release of the animal part of them.
It is not is bestiality: real animals are not involved.
Why do puppy play?
Because it's fun! More to the point it gives the pup an opportunity to shed off their human personality and take on the simple, carefree existence of a pup. Puppies like and get lots of attention. They also however receive some control from their Handler, while still expressing their animal instincts and desires.
The Handler also revives benefit from puppy play. Pups are always happy to see you and play fetch with you. They serve as a companion and friend. The Handler has the opportunity to establish dominance through training, while still allowing the pup some freedom, especially when playing.
What about humiliation?
For many pups, puppy play is not about humiliation. This does not mean they may not also enjoy humiliation, or that humiliation play is bad, but it tends not to be a part of puppy play. In many ways puppy play is much like training a biological pup. You wouldn't hit, kick, or abuse a new puppy to train him. Instead a firm but gentle approach is taken to training and discipline. Positive reinforcement is key; 'good boy' is spoken much more often than 'naughty pup' in puppy play.
What are the roles in puppy play?
There is no authoritative list of the roles in puppy play, but the most common names and meanings are these:
dogs are more interested in the dog persona: barking, being on all fours, the physical aspects of being a dog. They may be a more 'independent' pup.
pups are more about the canine head space then the physical. They think like a dog would, and crave attention like a puppy does.
alphas are the more aggressive, dominating pups. They will pose themselves as pack leaders, but will often also look after the pups in their pack.
Handlers are anyone the takes care of a pup. The one holding the leash per se.
Trainers train the pups to behave, do tricks. Trainer and Handlers may overlap.
Masters are usually the same as in other BDSM roles, they own the pups, and may or may not take part in the other roles.
biopup/biocanine – These terms refer to the biological animal (Canis lupus familiaris) to distinguish from the human animal.
What is pup headspace?
Headspace is hard to describe. It's the mental state you put on when you are doing puppy play. Dogs live in the moment, they do not think about the past or present. They act on instinct rather than rationality. Dogs are pack animals and seek attention from the other members of the pack. They look to the other dogs for leadership and guidance, and will assert their own if they do not find it. Maintaining headspace is about putting aside the human thoughts and desires and thinking instead about a pup's thoughts and desires.
What is needed for puppy play?
For most, puppy play is primarily a headspace. It is about a pup mentality, where your world consists mainly of what's within four feet of the ground. Puppy play is cheap and can be done with a minimum of gear. That said, there is some gear that helps maintain headspace.
Collars – A collar may be the most important part of gear for a pup. Besides providing a place to put a leash and a tag, wearing a collar helps immensely in putting a pup into the proper headspace. Unowned pups should not wear tags.
Kneepads – A more practical consideration than anything, a cheap pair of kneepads from home depot will help keep your pups knees from being chewed up and allow for longer play.
Paws/Mitts – Paws help keep a pups hands restrained, preventing them from being used like a humans and also serving to protect hands during play.
Hoods/Muzzles – A muzzle helps prevent a pup from using his human voice, and serves to make him look more dog like. Hoods look even more dog like (some are very realistic) and are usually less restrictive.
Toys – Every pup needs some good chew toys to chase. The best toys are soft, human teeth are not dog teeth. Hard toys like bones and rawhide shouldn't be used. Rope toys are OK but should not be tugged on hard.
Bowls – A large dog bowl is best. A human pup's snout isn't as long as a real pup's. Best way to measure is to stick your face in and see if it fits!
How do I get started as a pup?
Get on all fours and start barking! It is not always easy for a pup to get started with his puppy headspace. All pups are different, so what works for one may not work for others. The most useful thing may be to try and think like a dog thinks. Read puppy training guides, especially if you've not owned a dog, or haven't in a long time, it will help give you some insight into how a dog would react to a situation.
When you see a ball, you want to chase it. When someone gives you a treat you wag your tail (wagging your butt is acceptable :-) ). Human speech doesn't mean much to you, except maybe “good boy/girl.” There are very little worries when you are a puppy. You crave attention and will seek it however you can get it!
Remember though that pups don't always have to chase balls! There is a special bond that can be found between Handler & pup just by putting your head in his lap while he gives you ear scritchies.
You do not necessarily have to be on all fours to be in pup headspace. Many pups maintain a sort of pup headspace even when they are at work, in the car, or at the store. It is about keeping a carefree, joyful mentality. And growling at the occasional squirrel. ;-)
How do I get started as a Handler?
For the most part, when you are handling your pup treat him how you would a biological puppy. Pet him, play with him, tell him he's a good boy. There is no thing greater than having the joy and love you give your pup reflected back to you from a wagging tail and a lick on the cheek.
Remember though that you need to maintain dominance, by showing you are pack leader, or your pup will get out of control. Use positive reinforcement to train your pup. Giving attention to negative behavior will not work in your favor, because a pup only wants attention, and will see this as a game.
Some of the best guides for training are regular old puppy training guides you get from the pet shop. Make sure your pup tries to use his puppy mentality and not his human (humans learn tricks too fast :-P ). Do keep in mind however that your human puppy is not the same as a biological one and cannot do all of the same things his counterpart can.
Should I give my human pup dog food?
NO!!!!!
This question comes up a lot from those starting to get into puppy play. Despite what you may have heard, animal dog food is not fit for human consumption. Besides not meeting the dietary requirements of humans, there are many components such as bone meal and animal byproducts in dog food that simply aren't digestible by humans and could make you sick.
There are plenty of human foods that can serve as a substitute dog food. Cookies, crackers, anything bitesize your pup enjoys may be usable as treats. Cold canned beef stew is a perfect analog for wet dog food. Certain breakfast cereals look a lot like kibble (dry food). You can be creative and make your own food and treats.
Resources
Woof! Perspectives into the Erotic Care & Training of the Human Dog - Michael Daniels One of the few books on puppy play, not a perfect guide by any means, but gives some good intro and prespectives into puppy play. Can be found on amazon.com
pupout.com – maintains a mailing list for pups & trainers, as well as a website with links to other pup information and events.
pupzone.com – Large community of pups and trainers from many backgrounds.
leathercreations.com – Sell the best available pup mitts, specifically deisgned for pups. Also sell other general leather gear that is good for puppy play.
mr-s-leather.com – sell the more common leather puppy hoods as well as other general leather merchandise.
squarepegtoys.com – make the best puppy tail plugs, bar none
nepups.org – our own website about puppy play, we hold munches monthly and are compiling more info about puppy play all the time


 

What is puppy play?

Puppy play is when one person takes on the role of a pup or dog and another takes that of the handler or trainer.
It's not necessarily a sexual play, for some it might be, for others it a release of the animal part of them.
What it's not is bestiality: real animals are not involved.
For many human pup pup play is not humiliation but rather enjoyable, relaxing, and often often empowering. The pup tends to be a center of attention, care and love. A very intimate and special bond can be found between pup and handler.

What are the roles in puppy play?

There is no authoritative list of the roles in puppy play, but the most common names and meanings are these:

dogs
are more interested in the dog persona: barking, being on all fours, the physical aspects of being a dog.
pups
are more about the canine head space then the physical, though physical aspects may and do come into it as well.
alphas
are the more aggressive, dominating pups. They will pose themselves as pack leaders, but will often also look after the pups in their pack.
Handlers
are anyone the takes care of a pup. The one holding the leash per se.
Trainers
train the pups to behave, do tricks. Trainer and Handlers may overlap.
Masters
are usually the same as in other BDSM roles, they own the pups, and may or may not take part in the other roles.

What is needed for puppy play?

For most, puppy play is primarily a headspace. It is about a pup mentality, where your world consists mainly of what's within four feet of the ground. Puppy play is cheap and can be done with a minimum of gear. That said, there is some gear that helps maintain headspace.

Collars
A collar may be the most important part of gear for a pup. Besides providing a place to put a leash and a tag, wearing a collar helps immensely in putting a pup into the proper headspace
Kneepads
A more practical consideration than anything, a cheap pair of kneepads from home depot will help keep your pups knees from being chewed up and allow for longer play.
Paws/Mitts
Paws help keep a pups hands restrained, preventing them from being used like a humans and also serving to protect hands during extended play.
Hoods/Muzzles
A muzzle helps prevent a pup from using his human voice, and serves to make him look more dog like. Hoods look even more dog like (some are very realistic) and are usually less restrictive.
Toys
Every pup needs some good chew toys to chase. The best toys are soft, human teeth are not dog teeth. Hard toys like bones and rawhide shouldn't be used.
Bowls
A large dog bowl is best. A human pup's snout isn't as long as a real pup's.

How do I get started as a pup?

Get on all fours and start barking! It is not always easy for a pup to get started with his puppy headspace. All pups are different, so what works for one may not work for others. The most useful thing may be to try and think like a dog thinks.
When you see a ball, you want to chase it. When someone gives you a treat you wag your tail (wagging your butt is acceptable  ). Human speech doesn't mean much to you, except maybe “good boy/girl.” There are very little worries when you are a pupy.
You do not necessarily have to be on all fours to be in pup headspace. Many pups maintain a sort of pup headspace even when they are at work, in the car, or at the store. It is about keeping a carefree, joyful mentality. And growling at the occasional squirrel.

How do I get started as a Handler?

For the most part, when you are handling your pup treat him how you would a biological puppy. Pet him, play with him, tell him he's a good boy. There is no thing greater than having the joy and love you give your pup reflected back to you from a wagging tail and a lick on the cheek.
Some of the best guides for training are regular old puppy training guides you get from the pet shop. Make sure your pup tries to use his puppy mentality and not his human (humans learn tricks too fast ). Do keep in mind however that your human puppy is not the same as a biological one and cannot do all of the same things his counterpart can. 

Should I give my human pup dog food?

NO!!!!!

This question comes up a lot from those starting to get into puppy play. Despite what you may have heard, animal dog food is not fit for human consumption. Besides not meeting the dietary requirements of humans, there are many components such as bone meal in dog food that simply aren't digestible by humans and could make you sick.
There are plenty of human foods that can serve as a substitute dog food. Cookies, crackers, anything bitesize your pup enjoys may be usable as treats. Cold canned beef stew is a perfect analog for wet dog food. Certain breakfast cereals look a lot like kibble (dry food). You can be creative and make your own food and treats.