Room with a Pug View
Written by: slave pug, May 2001


*Nudges the door open with her head, trots into the room, hops up into the desk chair and flips the computer power switch on with a flick of a paw. Flexing her paws, she unceremoniously settles her curly tail-end into the chair and envisions her idol: Snoopy sitting atop his doghouse as he types out those infamous words, "It was a dark and stormy night..." as she begins tapping away at the keyboard.

Finally! A chance to talk about the pup training presentation held at Avatar and a surprising turn of events that came about for this pug. *snortle

Just in case there are some who are not sure what pup play is, let me briefly explain that it's a form of interaction where a human takes on the mindset of a dog or pup and responds to his/her surroundings as a dog/pup would. For further explanation, feel free to go back to the posting archives and look for my other pug ramblings on pup play. As some already know, pup play is near and dear to this pug's heart! *snortle i waited with baited doggie breath for over 6 weeks to attend Brian Dawson's presentation on pup training hosted by Avatar. Avatar is a private organization established for gay men with an interest in BDSM and advocates teaching BDSM techniques to anyone interested in learning. Many of their events are for men only however their monthly evening meeting is open to everyone.

Prior to the start of the presentation i was greeted by Master Skip, a friend of my Master, and then introduced to His own pup, Pup Tim. The meeting room was packed for this presentation: W/we were lucky to get some chairs. Some people were still left standing even with some pups sitting on the floor. Master Skip allowed Pup Tim to sit at His feet and go into a pup frame of mind. Pup Tim had some wonderful custom made leather paws that were buckled onto his hands - wonderful stuff! *curly tail wag

A naked male, in a collar, was curled up on a blanket several feet behind where the presenter stood. As the presentation got underway the pup, named "Hunter", was called over. Initially the human mind identifies this as a naked male who is going to "act like a dog". Yet when you see a "pup" go into the headspace, they really begin to take on the characteristics of a dog/pup and it doesn't take long before you begin to see and respond to that human pup/dog as if they were a real K-9. i could see the looks of surprise on some people's faces when they saw how deep this mindset could go. i admired how well Hunter could go into that pupspace despite the distractions of all the people around. Hunter took it all in like a dog would: excitedly scanning the crowd and barking at the sound of a pager that started to beep.

The presentation covered some of the basics of equipment: collar, leash, doggie dish/bowls, toys, etc. It then covered a very important feature: what i call "paw gear". There is a debate among some pups and trainers/handlers regarding the 'right' way for a dog/pup to walk. Some say a pup should walk on hands (or balled up fists) and feet. Others argue it should be hands and knees. i say: whatever works for you! For myself, i have discovered it is easiest for me to mix the two types: when trying to get somewhere quickly i will do the hand/feet mode while using hands/knees for short distances or staying in one area. Either mode of mobility means a lot more weight being put onto your hands/wrists so it is best to have some type of protection for the hands - particularly the base of the palms. i was envious of the leather "paws" that had been made for Pup Tim: they were great!!!

The presentation covered some of the typical activities done in pup play/pup training as well as the frame of mind the pup/dog and trainer/handler are in. One of the topics covered was "discipline". While there is no single absolute way that pup play or training has to be done, *typically* discipline in pup training/play is much the same as it is with a real K-9. Discipline is done with the intent to correct the behavior of the pup: to discourage undesired behavior and encourage desired behavior. The type of discipline is not the same as other types of play during an s/m scene. You wouldn't flog/cane/wax a real K-9 as a means of correcting behavior: similarly, you wouldn't do such things to your human pup because they are in the mindset of a pup/dog. Yes, some people do flog/whip/whatever their human pup, however the focus here is on pup play/training where the pup remains in the mindset of a four-legged K-9.

With Hunter bounding around chasing his doggie toy and Pup Tim on the floor in his pupspace, a part of me was ready to jump down onto all fours and *snortle about with the other pups! i was a bit envious of Pup Tim being able to go into that pup frame of mind. Yet, i resisted the urge go into full pug mode. Why? 1.) A presentation was going on and i was not about to interrupt it, 2.) i wanted to listen and pay attention to the presentation as well, and 3.) For myself, pupspace is similar to subspace in that, i am opening up a very vulnerable space and giving all of my heart, spirit and energy in that interaction. If i am somewhere on my own and went into a full pug pup mode, there is no one to watch out and make sure people aren't approaching me in an inappropriate manner or trying to pull me out of that pupspace abruptly. Being a pug is always a part of me, yet to allow it to fully emerge requires someone to nurture that part of me, to be part of that exchange of energy (if that makes sense) and be protective of me when i am fully in that frame of mind. That's just me: others can go into that headspace easily without an 'owner' being around and that's wonderful. *snortle

The presentation ended with time for questions/discussion. Master Skip had read some of my previous ramblings about pup play and quietly said He would like me to comment on a couple of the topics brought up during the discussion. So a pug spoke up and made a few comments. Someone asked for a "paw count" (i.e. a show of hands) to see how many pups/dogs were in attendance. There were quite a few pups raising paws. The pug, just too excited by all this pup energy (and fortunately wearing jeans instead of a business skirt that night), slid down into her chair and raised all four paws into the air. *snortle

For this pug, the presentation was a wonderful mix of excitement and energy to see so many others share in the same level of interest/love for pup play and for others to gain a better understanding of what it entails. *snortle The presentation rated a four-paws-up on the puggie's scale of one to four paws!

A turn of events...

After the presentation concluded, a man came over to me and started discussing the comments i had made at the end of the meeting. Since it was time for the meeting hall to be locked up, we ended our chat and i trotted over to the nearby leather bar to join Master Skip and His pup for a drink. This gave me a chance to talk more with Pup Tim about his views on pup play and his own experiences. He did a great job holding the beer bottle with those leather paws on too! *curly tail wag The man who had spoken to me at the meeting hall earlier, came over and joined in our conversation for a short time.

A bit later, after Master Skip and Pup Tim left, i was standing around finishing up a drink when the same man, named Eric, came back over to talk with me more about pup play. He explained this was the first time he had seen pup play done without it being in the context of a humiliation scene (such as someone's head being pushed into a doggie dish), that he was interested in the dynamics of it and genuinely just liked dogs as pets. Out of the blue, to a pug's complete surprise, he asked if i would ever be interested in playing with him: to do pup play. This was particularly a surprise because he easily could have had many a male pup eagerly volunteering to play with him. Yet he asked a *snortlin', frumpy ol' female pug instead! He quickly added that he didn't mean play involving sex or anything like that since he was a gay man... he just meant pure pup play. i smiled and explained i was already used to that type of situation since i am a slave in a primarily gay leather family. That was a bit of a surprise to him. W/we spoke more and i explained that if he did wish to do pup play, he would need to contact my Master to discuss it with Him and ask permission to play with me. i am sure it had to look pretty funny if you think about it: in a very small, dark, gay leather bar, this man writes down his e-mail and phone number and gives it to the only female in the bar! Go figure! :p i have no doubt that i am not the only one that such things happen to, still, a pug thinks it's kind of funny! *snortle

i was thrilled to no end! i had a good feeling about this person from speaking with him: that he was genuine and that despite being new to pup play would have a natural feel for the dynamics of it. The opportunity to do just pure pup play for an extended period of time, with someone who seemed to have a natural feel for it, was exciting to this pug! A pug gets limited time to be with her leather family and that has meant the time spent being in full pug pup mode has been even more limited: perhaps 10 or 20 minutes at a given time.

Much to this pug's excitement, Eric did contact my Master and speak with Him. i sent my Master an e-mail as well, discussing the potential pup play and asked what His wishes were. i also requested references as well as sent him references for myself. It's not a matter of asking if someone likes a person's style of play; asking for references just helps to establish that other people have found you to be a fairly rational person and don't consider you a psycho. Most people that know me would vouch that i'm not a psycho. A neurotic pug? Yes. A psycho? No. After references were checked, stipulations and limits established and all formalities taken care of, a date was scheduled for pup play! *curly tail wagging excitedly

pug play...


Here i am, sitting back at the keyboard once more: typing, deleting, re-typing and rewording what i want to say. It's not like i am at a loss for words (yeah, i know: everyone's waiting for that day!). The challenge is finding the right combination of words that relate what is in my heart and spirit about this experience to you, the reader, across a monitor screen that has little ability to convey emotion, mood, innuendo, etc.

The scheduled day for pup play arrived! *snortle When work finally ended for the day, the pug headed to her new handler's place. The thought of pup play had been in the back of my head all day! *snortle snortle To avoid lengthy explanations, suffice to say all precautions were taken to ensure this was a safe person. i was excited, to say the least. Yet as i drove up, i was a bit nervous. Since i was coming from work, i brought clothes to change into when i got there (trotting around in business attire on all fours can be so uncomfortable!). *snortle

i will back up here for a moment to explain something that was discussed during the Avatar pup class: while some pups wear leather, rubber or various types/styles of clothing, many pups are naked when they are in pup mode. Some handlers will tie or attach something to a male pup's genitals to heighten their awareness of their genitals. What wasn't mentioned in the presentation, and what a pug believes/discussed after the presentation is that, in the case of female four-legged K-9s, they do not have heightened awareness of their genitals. In fact, female four-legged K-9s are really only attentive of such things when they are in heat. The other difference is that a human fem pup often has some portion of chest that hangs down and hampers some movement of the front paws whereas a four-legged female K-9 doesn't have a chest that hangs down that way. i had discussed this view with my new pup handler: he had the choice of having the pug "au natural" or with clothing that would help hold things more snugly for better pup mobility. He decided on the snug clothing option. Even so, a pug was extremely nervous once she changed into the snug clothing: long black cloth stretch pants and a sport tank-shirt. i usually avoid wearing snug clothing because of my own physical insecurities. i was very honest about my nervousness when i came back to the living room after changing clothes. When i explained about my apprehension, he gave me a very supportive hug. :) As for my hair, since it is long in back, i braided it, folded the braid over and secured it so it wouldn't flop around and get in the way. After all, i'm a pug: not a sheepdog or puli! *snortle snortle

Prior to starting we discussed a few more things. It was decided that when the pug needed to go to the bathroom, pup play would be briefly suspended: i would just quietly trot into the restroom and close the door and then return to all fours once i opened the door again. This approach was not disruptive to my pup mindset. Since i was coming over after work, it was perfect timing to feed a pup dinner. While some pups/handlers use real dog food and treats, we agreed to stick with human foods. Even if dog food treats are made with all natural ingredients, the standards of sanitation for animal food preparation/packaging is not the same as for humans so i don't personally feel comfortable with digesting real dog food. Four-legged K-9s have a different kind of digestive system than human pups. This didn't detract from the pup play either: i know my own pugs certainly would choose human food over their kibble any day! From any four-legged pug's view: human food IS pug food and they are left in shock and disbelief if the human doesn't share that perspective. The same holds true for where a pug sleeps: the human's bed is, of course, the pug's bed from their point of view. From any pug's view: all the world is a potential pillow, and it's their call in life to seek out the softest, most comfiest spot. It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it. *snortle of determination

Since i have never had any formal training as a pup (never been taught to sit, stay, heel, fetch, etc.) i suggested he should just approach this as if i was a brand new pup. Since he has had previous experience training dogs he had a good mindset for taking on a brand new pup. In fact he explained how he even trained a fish to pull on a cord so that fish food would drop into the tank. Yes, i was impressed to hear that! Personally, a pug thinks he has his work cut out for him: fish aren't as clueless as pugs. :p

i had brought an adjustable nylon snap-on collar that had been bought for pup play a long time ago and had ended up never getting used. The funny thing about this collar is that it is the same exact style and size used on my own pugs!!! Since i didn't have any specific "paw gear", i had brought along two very soft pairs of black ankle socks (i figured two layers of socks would give a bit more cushion to my hands).

The initial transition from human to full pup mode can be an awkward and unsure moment: usually some type of signal or event should occur to let a pup know when they can fall completely into that mode. The transition we used was for my handler to snap on my collar and put my paw gear on me (i.e., pull the socks over my hands). He then backed up a bit, kneeled down and called me to come to him, "Come here pug!" i took a brief moment to breathe in and, as i let go of my breath, i mentally let go of my lingering human-ness and allowed the pug to fully emerge. *snortle i scooted forward and clumsily 'stood up' (on my knees... thankfully he had loaned me knee pads!), placing my front paws on his chest and greeting him with *snortles and snarfles as an excited pug pup would typically greet a human arriving home. He laughed, petted my head and told me i was a good pup. *curly tail wag

my handler had laid out a towel on the floor in the dining room for the pug's eating area. He didn't want to risk lining the area with newspaper since he already knew this pug is partial to yanking out newspapers and shredding them with her teeth in utter glee. *snortle A plate with salad was set down for the pug as well as a shallow bowl of water. He also set out a small bowl of beer for the pug (yeah, i know: it isn't a standard K-9 beverage, but it went well with the food!).

Now, a dog/pup doesn't hear much of a human's jibberish language. When in full pug mode, i take the approach that humans sound like the adults do in the Peanuts comic strip, "Wah wahhh wah wah wah wahhhh." The intonation means a lot more than the actual words. There are key words a pup eventually learns to associate with a desired action: such as "come" "stay" "good girl/boy" "dinner!" etc. In the mean time, a pup is new to all language and doesn't respond much to actual words.

The pug was called a couple of times before she trotted over, curious about what her human was setting down. She sniffed at the plate tentatively, then the food, which she then enthusiastically started to chow down. pugs are not quiet eaters (ask any owner of a four-legged pug): they make all kinds of *snortling and *snarfling noises, talking about the food they are eating as if they are vocalizing their approval. As the pug focused on chowing down, her handler sat down to his own dinner at the table, talking every so often to the pug, as a handler is apt to do. A pug found it easy to not pay attention to what her human was saying since her human switched languages on her and started speaking in Spanish! Fortunately for him, the pug didn't take Spanish back in high school... at her mom's suggestion, she opted for German (which she did horrible at and recalls none of!). So a pug focused on her food and wagged her tail-end every so often at the tone of his voice as her human spoke in incomprehensible words. *snortle

A large amount of salad had been put in the dish and i knew i couldn't eat all of it and then eat the main course, so when i had my fill of salad i slumped down and started licking my front paws. The pug then began to wander around a bit: under and around the dining room table, sniffing here and there. Eventually the main course was brought out and the pug was called back over to her dish. The pug poked her head up to the table, curious about the human's plate but eventually had her attention called back to her own dish.

i have to admit: what really impressed me was that my handler had forethought about feeding this pug and was kind enough to take a damp washcloth, fold it up and stick it on a plate next to the food so that a pug could rub her muzzle on it and not walk around with food all over her face. Now some people would say, "Well you wouldn't do that with a real dog!" Yet a real dog has a bit longer tongue to reach more of their face. If my handler had not had such foresight, i would have just done what my own pugs do when they are trying to clean off their faces: either rubbed my face into the carpet, a blanket or the ever-popular choice of the handler's pant leg. *innocent pug look By the way, my handler is a good cook! :)

After much *snarfling and chomping, a pug contentedly began to lick clean her front paws again. A pug trotted under the table, sniffing at the human's tennis shoes, biting the end of a shoelace and pulling it undone to chew on the lace. After a bit of chewing she wandered out from under the table and peeked up on top of the table to see what food her human might still have up there (because it must be better than a pug's food if it is up on the table, you know). Her handler's plate was fairly empty and he got up to take it to the kitchen. The pug's attention was soon drawn to the stack of newspapers that happened to be on the corner of the table. *perk A pug tentatively sniffed at the pile and then mouthed a segment of the newspaper off the table, onto the floor. The sounds of *rip rip, shred, paw, rip, tear, gleeful snortles were heard. Her handler came out of the kitchen and seemed amused to watch his new pup explore the old newspaper. Suddenly, the pug tilted her head to one side and listened: a K-9 was barking outside so a pug went tumbling over to the window and started to paw at the wall under the window. The handler came over while asking, "Whaddya hear pug? Whaddaya hear girl, huh?" and opened up the window. The pug tilted her head and listened to the barking and then responded with a puggie *rrraaooowwwfff! The pug barked a bit more and then whined a little as the handler closed the window back up and walked away.

The handler eventually called his pup over for a treat. A pug excitedly pawed at his leg as he held the treat up out of her reach. *snortle-whimper When the puggie finally calmed down, he held the treat down for her to take. A pug pup doesn't really look or pay attention to the treat being held out, so as she excitedly went for the treat... CHOMP! The pug pup accidentally bit the hand feeding her! i winced when this happened because i *know* my teeth are fairly sharp and i had to stop myself from immediately reacting as a human to apologize and ask if he was all right. i think he saw the "oh s**t! That had to hurt!" look on my face and the struggle not to fall out of pup mode to see if he was all right because he began to assure his pup that it was okay, the skin had not been broken and some other calming words for his pug. i truly felt bad about that and apologized profusely later on when i was back in human mode. Other treats given out that night were taken a bit more gingerly from his fingers! *Hiding eyes with paws

While her handler was busy taking plates back into the kitchen, the pug stumbled onto a basket of clean laundry on the floor. Gee, clean, soft, squishy things for a pug to nose around in... a pug was busy with her head stuck far into the tipped-over laundry basket, with clothing items strewn about her on the carpet, when she heard her handler's voice. The pug lifted her head up, with tube sock hanging from teeth, to find her handler squatting down to look at her and ask what the pup had gotten into. The pug went into a playful pounce position and tried to evade his hand as he reached for the sock... it lead to a quick game of sock tug o' war! *curly tail wag Later he told me that the laundry basket incident was completely unexpected: he had actually set down a wound up heavy duty extension cord (unplugged) thinking that a pup might try to play with it out of curiosity, yet he had left the laundry basket of clean clothes sitting right there as well, without thinking about it. lol!

A bit later, as her handler was occupied in the kitchen again, the pug found herself trotting into her human's sleep area (aka the bedroom). Eureka! Not only was there this really huge soft, cushion-y area (aka the bed) perfect for a pug to sprawl out on and sleep in a manner all pugs should sleep, there was also a pair of leather boots laying in the midst of the floor, calling out to a curious pug pup!!! *snortle snortle, wagging curly tail excitedly Okay... so admittedly a pug is partial to boots even when she is not in full pug mode... *sheepish pug grin (i have to admit, a perk of being part of a gay leather family: there tend to be more boots around!!!) The handler thought, perhaps the pug had trotted into the bathroom. When time passed and a pug did not come back out to the living room, he finally went looking for his pup only to discover her curled up in the middle of his bed, nosing around inside of one of his boots and noshing on part of a bootlace. *curly tail wag What could he do? He laughed at his curious, new pug pup that was exploring everything. Instead of getting angry and scolding the pug, he diverted her attention away from the boot: he lay down on the bed and called her over to him. Dropping the boot, the pug clambered over to her handler, who praised her for listening and coming when called. The puggie heard something along the line of "Wah wah... good pug! ...Wah" and was getting petted on the head at the same time. Attention from her human making sounds (i.e. speaking) in a good (happy) tone and getting petted... the pug realized this was a good thing and somewhere in her puggie mind figured she might want to remember that coming to the handler when he calls her, might benefit her. Yet a pug pup is still fairly forgetful and gets distracted easily. In the meantime, a puggie was enjoying getting petted, praised and scratched. In a playful mood, the pug started romping and walking/tumbling in circles all over her handler, then paw-wing and *snortling again for more petting. Pure pug glee! The boot was forgotten.

The handler went back to the living room and called the pug. As the pug was trotting into the living room the phone rang. Her handler was carrying a small plate of something that he sat down on the coffee table while he went to answer the phone. As her handler went over to his desk to finish the call, a pug's attention was drawn to the plate on the coffee table. Now a pug asks: how many of you would set a plate of food (particularly chocolate-covered ice cream bon bons) down on a coffee table within a pet's reach, and expect nothing to happen while you are not around? *Innocent pug look The pug was already off tearing up newspapers when her handler hung up the phone and returned to the coffee table... only to find a plate overturned on the carpet and not a single bon bon to be found. *Continues to focus on tearing up the newspaper thinking "What a nice human i have, to kindly set out puggie treats on a plate for me like that!"

Eventually her handler sat down to watch TV and relax. The pug was called over and he patted the sofa for her to join him on the sofa. The pug jumped up onto the sofa, circled a few times and slumped into a pug lump with her head on her handler's lap. With a huge, contented pug sigh, the pug stretched out and relaxed as her handler petted her while watching TV. *Yaaaawwwnnnn-snortle

When the evening of pup play drew to a close, her handler called the pug over and said it was time to take the pup's collar off. He removed the collar and paw gear and told me to go ahead and stand up. i had to stop for a moment though, and breathe deeply to let the slight twinge of sadness dissipate. i wonder... if that twinge of sadness/disappointment felt when pup play is over and the human side must return, is the same type of feeling a four-legged K-9 has when their human must leave for work or to take care of other responsibilities. Certainly, having the pup collar removed is nowhere near as painful or sad as it feels whenever my slave collar is unlocked and removed by my Master when i must return home. Still, there is a slight melancholy feeling that occurs when the full pug mode has to be internally kenneled.

my handler and i discussed some of the events that occurred throughout the evening: things that surprised us, our perceptions and reactions, etc. He mentioned something about the next time... a pug's heart leaped! i had really enjoyed the pup play. He had been a fantastic handler: i could not have hoped for better! i had been a bit worried that he would be bored or might decide not to play with me again, so to hear him mention the possibility of a next time really made this pug relieved and happy! *curly tail wag It had been a wonderful experience for this pug! The time had passed so quickly even though the pup play had gone on for over three hours! *snortle

Things a pug learned from her first extended pup play:
~ i loved it as much as i thought i would. *snortle
~ i need to get some good wrist support: the socks provide no support for my wrists.
~ The snug active-wear worked really well for a fem pup to move around in.
~ Being in full pup mode helps me to push away daily worries and anxieties (something this human pug has a hard time doing).
~ A lot of energy is exerted in this type of interaction: i stayed far warmer than i thought would be possible.
~ i am fairly certain i could go for much longer periods of time in full pug mode.
~ Even in pup mode... boots are a very, very good thing.

~ pug *snortle

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