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Pup play

Pup or puppy play is when a person takes on the role of a pup/ dog and sometimes while another person takes that of a handler/ owner/ trainer. The pup behaves like their canine equivalent, and the handler handles the pup like they would a real-life pup. The pup handler benefits from puppy play, always happy to see you, play 'fetch' and be your companion and friend. While allowing the pup some freedom, especially when playing, the handler may also establish dominance through training.

There can be a deep intense role-play, with a human pup exploring the world on all fours and forming a bond with an owner, or it can be light-hearted fetish play alone and/ or with others. There's also the social side to pup play which should not be underestimated and, of course, pups love getting love and praise from their handler. Pup play does not necessarily involve sex, though it can.

Why pup play?

While pup play may be an extension of an existing BDSM relationship, the reasons why guys get into pup play are various:

  • It serves as a release from their human personality, where they can enjoy the carefree existence of a pup
  • It's an escape from everyday life stresses
  • It's an opportunity and embraces a different (carefree) headspace
  • One can feel more confident and sexy (which some guys say can make them also feel more body-confident as a result)
  • Pups like and get lots of attention
  • It's also a light entry point into the world fetish, kink, and BDSM

It's origins

While there is evidence that animal role-play since the 1940s, the puppy fetish evolved in the late 1970s when submissive gay men were punished by their more dominant partners on the BDSM scene. However, we would like to make it clear from the get-go that pup or puppy play has absolutely nothing to do with bestiality (sex with animals).

Pup play has increased in popularity in recent years, and today there is a growing community of human pups and handlers who socialise and play at events in the United States, Europe, and Australia. While the puppy play community is primarily comprised of gay men, people of any gender and sexual orientation can be involved in the subculture.

Gear

Pup gear it not essential for getting into the headspace and pups build it up over time - a hood, collar or tail, etc. Many pups wear rubber leather neoprene gear to enhance play including collars and masks, mittens, tails and harnesses. Some pups play with chew toys, play fetch, bark, walk on all fours, explore and get into trouble ... as dogs do.

Some thoughts on pup play in no particular order:

  • Above all puppy play is about getting into a different headspace, and having fun and a good time
  • A collar is a good place to start, making sure it's comfortable. Hoods and muzzles (which come in a range of styles) are also a great way of getting into the headspace and provide some anonymity if that's what you need. Try to find one that fits your personality or breed
  • Toys can be fun, particularly those that squeak, but you might want to consider softer toys (for human mouths). Be aware that some dog toys not designed or made for humans and consider where they're going and where they've been
  • Mits and knee pads protect can also help you get into your pup, but they also provide knee and hand protection. Be careful of any sharp edges or pointy bits which could hurt another pup. Kit can be expensive, but you could start with boxing or weightlifting gloves
  • Some guys also like to have a tail wag which comes as a show tail (attach/ clip onto belt/ tail harness) or a (mini butt) plug tail. Note: do not pull or tug on another pup's tail!
  • We suggest shoes or trainers which are soft and flexible over boots which can be hard and heavy
  • Consider a hanky for a back pocket or to wear around your neck with bones, paws, or dogs to let other guys know what you're into
  • Take breaks and hydrate as pup play can be exhausting and thirsty work. If you're feeling unwell, don't go to a mosh sick and pass on bugs to other pups. (A mosh is where a group of pup get together and play).
  • Consider having a safe word: a word that is used in BDSM play to signal that the submissive needs the scene to end. There can also be a slow word that says they don’t want it to stop but they either need a breather or the just need it to go slower

Further reading

Human pups: Everything you need to know about the fetish for dressing up in latex puppy suits | Metro News | 29 Mar 2017
Young gays are sniffing out the pup life | Vice | 16 Feb 2016
Get a glimpse into the world of puppy play | Huff Post | 19 Oct 2016
Human puppy play | Queer Culture Collection | 29 Nov 2015
7 reasons puppy play Is great If you're new to kink | Pride | 23 Nov 2015

Groups and organisations

Pup Play 101 | USA
International Puppy Play
Mr Puppy Europe
Mr Puppy UK
Sirius Pup
Pup Zone
Kink Friendly Health Professional Directory
Pup Safe Project | Australia
The Happy Pup
International Pup Play

UK Groups

Puppy Pride
Kennel Klub, Manchester

Pup Munch, London
Pups of the North

Apps and social media

You will also find guys into pup play on Recon, Scruff,  Fetlife and Twitter, Tumbler and Facebook

Gear

Fetch Shop | Fetch Shop
Regulation | Regulation
Clone Zone Direct | Clone Zone
Twisted Pig | Twisted Pig

Shut the WOOF Up Podcast

Researching pup play, MEN R US stumbled across Shut the WOOF Up and we have no problem giving them a shout out ... or maybe it's a bark out. Pup play purists may be rolling in their kennels but we love the fact that these guys have injected some fun into pup play.

In their own words: "Shut the WOOF up is a monthly, absurdist/ comedy podcast by pups, for pups. But also NOT by pups and for non-pups too. See? It’s weird. Some might even call us a pup cast. From dogbates and dogscussions (and many more dog-related puns) on a range of weird and wonderful pup and fetish topics with a light-hearted twist, combined with a smorgasbord of weird and stupid radio sounds and jingles – Shut the WOOF up is the definitive podcast for anyone into puppy play. Unless you find a better one, then that’s probably the definitive one."

Shut the WOOF Up | Shut the WOOF Up
Shut the WOOF Up | Shut the WOOF Up

Study and research

An exploratory study of a new kink activity: “Pup play” | Wignall, L. and McCormack, M. | 2017
The new kink: human pup-play in the contemporary moment | Erik William Boyd | US | California | 2018

Books

Woof! Perspectives Into The Erotic Care and Training of the Human Dog | Michael Daniels | 2006
Bark! | Justin St Clair | 2015

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