Puppy play is a subsection of pet or animal play in the kink community. Puppy play can differ depending on individual preferences, but the general premise is that an individual takes on the role of a biological puppy or dog. Puppy play is not necessarily sexual, although for some it can be! Puppy play can involve playing alone, playing with other human puppies, and interacting with a handler. For some individuals, puppy play occurs occasionally, during specific role plays, social settings or scenes, while others enjoy a more continuous dynamic between a human pup and their handler.
What is Puppy Play About?
For many human pups the draw to puppy play is a desire to let go of “human” stressors, responsibilities and pressures and embrace a simpler expression of themselves. For some, it can be a desire to unleash their more animal instincts. As a human pup they may wag a tail, lick their owner’s hand, and show feelings in new ways outside of human communication. Puppy play is different for everyone who engages. It sometimes involves training where a human pup is trained and disciplined. It may only involve play without training. Some human pups completely relinquish their human characteristics, while others maintain varying degrees of human characteristics.
A human pup might play with other puppies at a social gathering, may cuddle with their handler on the couch, may take walks with their handler, may play alone with or without toys, may explore their curiosities outside. Basically, puppy play can involve tons of different activities. What occurs during puppy play is up to the people involved, and should always be agreed upon with consent.
What are the Roles in Puppy Play?
The most common roles in puppy play are that of the human pup and the handler. There are certainly other specific roles out there but these are the most common
- Human Pups- These are the individuals that take on the persona of the puppy. This varies from person to person as some enjoy relinquishing all human characteristics, while others maintain their human characteristics to different degrees. Generally, a human pup will act, communicate and play like a biological puppy.
- Handlers- Handlers are the person that remains human (in other words they are not role playing as an animal or pet). Handlers care for the human pups.
Does Puppy Play Involve Humiliation?
Some people that engage in puppy play enjoy a dynamic between a human pup and a handler that involves humiliation or degradation. This dynamic will be negotiated and agreed upon with consent. Others who engage in puppy play don’t wish to incorporate any aspects of humiliation, and enjoy being cared for in a more affection way. Many enjoy positive interactions with their handler such as receiving head pats, and verbal expressions such as “good puppy!” that let them know they are valued. Just as different human pups enjoy different dynamics so do handlers! Some handlers prefer the humiliation dynamic, while others enjoy a more gentle, affectionate dynamic. For many handlers, the puppy play dynamic is rewarding because it allows them to experience unconditional love and a willingness to please from their human pups.
How Sexual is Puppy Play?
Puppy play can be as sexual as you want it to be. There are not specific rules about how sexual, or nonsexual puppy play can be. Some people may wish to engage in sexual activities with puppy play, while others enjoy simply playing, cuddling and other nonsexual aspects of play. For some, the dynamic between human pup and handler is erotic and pleasurable regardless of the amount of physical sexual activity. Essentially puppy play is up to you and what you and other consenting adults have agreed upon!
What is a Puppy Headspace?
For many human pups a large appeal is being able to engage in the puppy headspace. Much like everything else in puppy play, the puppy headspace or “pupspace” is personal to each individual. What the puppy headspace feels like, and techniques for getting onself into the headspace can differ. Many human pups describe the headspace as a way to clear their mind, and escape from the demands of regular human life for a little while. Puppies are typically focused on the here and now, exploring curiosities, engaging and playing in the present moment. Puppies are not worried about planning for the future or ruminating on the past. Human pups personify this when in the puppy headspace. This can be a huge stress reliever for many. In addition, most human pups interact without words, and instead rely on body language, woofs, tail wagging and other non verbal forms of communication. This can lead the human pup to experience the world in a brand new way. For many, being in the puppy headspace allows the individual to get more in tough with their playful and curious side.
A common misconception is that you need gear to be able to get into the puppy headspace. While gear, which we will discuss below helps some human pups enter their headspace, it is certainly not a requirement.
What Gear do Human Pups Wear?
Gear is certainly not a requirement for puppy play, but there is lots of gear out there you may choose to add to your experience. Here are some of the most common types of gear.
Hoods/Masks- This is one of the most visibly noticeable pieces of gear you can have. Many human pups choose a hood or mask that matches their puppy persona, and find them helpful for entering the puppy headspace.
Tails- There are two main tupes of tails. There are wearable tails that usually attach to a belt or clip on to a harness or to something else. Wearable tails are easy to move about with, and are easy to take off if need be. These tails can range from simple rubber ones to big fluffy tails. The other type of tail is an insertable tail. This tail will insert into the anus or vagina for some people.
Body suits- Body suits can be a great way to alter your appearance, perhaps to match the breed of your puppy persona! Body suits can also be protective and prevent your skin from being touched if that is undesirable for you. Body suits come in a range of materials.
Collars, leashes, and harnesses,- For some human pups collars are useful for entering the puppy headspace, but it is important to note that for some individuals collars can have a deeper meaning. A collar may mean that a human pup is “owned” or bonded to their handler and can signify a serious commitment. Leashes can be simple dog leashes that attach to a collar, or some human pups prefer to wear a full body harness.
Protective gear. – Many human pups fins themselves on their hands and knees and so they require protection for their hands and knees. This can include puppy play mits, that protect the knuckles, and knee pads.
Gear can be a fun way to express your puppy persona, connect with a handler, and protect yourself during puppy play, but what gear you choose to wear, and what type is entirely up to you and your experience!
How to Connect With Others in the Community
If you are looking to connect with others in the puppy play community, finding a local community, or online community is a fantastic way to start! Below is a link to a list, although not exhaustive, of social support groups and puppy play organizations. Many organizations will hold meet up events where human pups and handlers can interact and meet each other.
Fetlife.com is also a good resource to meet fellow puppy players who share your interests.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that as long as safety and consent are always involved, your puppy play is your puppy play!