As the universe would have it, we overlapped visits at our Master's house one weekend and went into our first formal training session. As I was driving the 2 hour drive to my Master's home I got the "hit" as I call it, on what to do in our first training session. I had to change everything about pug's routine of play. I would have to change the ritual of preparation and be responsible for guiding her into pup space right from the moment we entered the room together.
I stopped at a Petco store on the way to my Master's home and picked up a training clicker and some natural organic canine shampoo. Pug was going to get a puppy bath! The idea of this brought me great joy with slight trepidation about how pug would respond to the vulnerability of being a naked pup with soapy bubbles all over her head. I would have to do something else to ensure she was "with me" in trust before we went there.
When it was time for our session, I told pug to go get her stuff and meet me in the dungeon. Although I really wanted a big metal tub to give pug her bath, I had to settle for the shower. I prepared the shower floor with towels so her bare knees would be protected against the hard tile. I dug around for a hood, some rope and prepared the metal cage in the dungeon for her arrival.
Pug arrived about 20 minutes later (she does take her time to prepare herself). She arrived in her usual black leotard and tennis shoes, with toys, kneepads and mitts in tow. I sensed her nervousness. I shared that it was absolutely perfect and acceptable to be nervous. This would be a different experience for her and that nothing I was going to do would harm her in anyway. I expected her to have some trepidation.
I asked her to disrobe and again assured her that although she had never been in her pup mode naked, everything would be fine and she would be taken care of. She was quiet as she disrobed, wonderfully willing and beautifully obedient. After she was naked, we hugged for a bit to share body space and breathe together. I asked her to sit in a chair and I placed a full leather hood over her head. I informed her as I was doing this that I was going to slowly guide her from human to pup and that I did not expect her to go into pup space until I shared that it was ok. I did not want her to feel obligated to force a pup space with all the new experiences I was going to throw at her. My intent was to take away her sight and enhance and minimize localized sounds while she was in transition from human to pup. Once her hood was in place I began to scratch around her head, as I do when she is in pup mode. It's a favorite. I knew from experience that, when in a hood, any scratching around the ears is amplified. My thoughts at the time were to reinforce and enhance an affectionate gesture of scratching pug's ears accompanied by assuring trainer words of "good girl","nice pup". After a short time I sensed that she was deep in a meditation.
I brought her to the floor on all fours, again spending some time to pat her pup body, scratch and rub her head and begin the physical shifting process from sitting human to four legged pup. Without sight, pug had to listen to me closely as I lead her around the room and towards her cage. I lead her into her cage on all fours and shut her in. pug's cage at my Master's house is always a safe place for her. It was here that I tied her hands together and then limited her movement by tying them to the cage bars. I did the same with her feet so she was locked in a four-legged stance in the cage. One reason for this particular approach was that I know my slave sister is very fond of ropes and rope bondage. I wanted her human to surrender to a typically associated human experience, while transitioning into her pup. It, of course, was a symbolic binding of trainer to pup. Once she was in the cage, I worked about the room. Going in and out of doors, finishing prep for her pup bath and occasionally returning to the cage to pat her through the bars, scratch on her hood and tap lightly on the resonant bars of the cage.
I introduced the training clicker while she was in this position. It was a new sound emerging from the darkness of wherever her headspace was at. I moved about the room clicking the metal gadget twice and stating very clearly, "good pup". Rubbing her hood, clicking the clicker and affirming "good pup" was giving her what I felt was the association I wanted her to have as we would continue to work with the clicker in the future. I wanted her to know that when she hears that sound, that it is a "good pup" feeling and the eventual introduction of training commands would follow that association.
After about a half hour in the cage of meditation, I helped her out and lead her to the bathroom for her pup shower. This was a bit awkward for me because I know how hard it is on a pup's knees to tromp long distances without knee pads. I was hoping that the rough carpet and hard tile floor would not detract from what I sensed was a perfectly deep meditative and trusting place she had reached. Once in the bathroom, I removed her hood. She slowly opened her eyes. To me, pug had a sense of panic in her eyes as she realized that she was in the bathroom with shower water running. I lead her into the shower floor where I had laid towels out to soften the surface for her knees. Throughout the shower she was very still and soft whimpers escaped her lips. I read this initially as this was something unpleasant for my pup and it hit me later. No shit. When have you ever seen a dog enjoy a bath? They sort of tolerate us humans when we think they need a good cleaning. What I read initially as my slave sister in a bit of anguish over this task was actually my pup, in pup mode, reacting as she would to a real bath.
After a great frothy sudsy bath and a good warm towel rub down, we moved into the dungeon. It was clear to me that whatever deep space she had gone to with the hood meditation was gone and she was more aware of human space. She rose to her feet and hands to move across the tile floor back into the dungeon. Once there I began to put her gear on. As I was doing so, I could tell that pug wanted something. She was close to breaking into human mode because I was forgetting something. Pug led me to the table on all fours and pointed out I was forgetting tape for her wrists before I put her mitts on. It was a good instance for me to recognize when the human needs to communicate something and I am not sure what that is I need to allow the pup to show me rather than speak her out of pup space to tell me. It was like communicating with Lassie. "What is it girl?" ~chuckles~
After her gear was on, the last thing to cue her pup into full puggishness is to 'click' the collar into place. I left her leotard off but helped her into her sports bra, knee pads, shoes and mitts. Her bottom half was still naked. After some good pat downs we were off. I let her roam a bit and get used to her surroundings again. While she roamed I went about my business of cleaning up the shower and putting towels in the dryer. She was always at my feet and when I went through a door there were puppy scratches. I smiled from the other room, imagining my pup sitting on the other side, wondering where I was off to now. What was it like for her to be alone, I wondered?
Once I completed my chores I came back into the space and we went through some basic training commands. She found the toy she was most interested in and I used it to establish some "Sit", "Stay" and "Come here" commands. With the clicker, I would use it to get her attention followed by "pug, look" pointing to my eyes so we could make eye contact before another command was given. We did this routine for over an hour in and out of fetch games and lots of praise. She was responding fabulously and I was very excited. Something we were doing worked and she was right with me the whole time.
When it was time to come back I sat in the middle of the floor for a cool off period, gently patting her down, scratching her ears and resting after a good workout. She slumped, as she does, with her head in my lap. I felt such peace from her as she drifted into a very slow breathing pattern, falling asleep. It was our first pup nap together. As she slept there for 15 or so minutes I relaxed and let her slumber. I brought her slowly back and removed her gear. After some human cooling off time in the same spot on the floor we talked very briefly. She was not completely verbal yet.
I asked her if she wanted to go back into her cage to relax a bit more. She did so and I went about the rest of my chores for the day, returning to check on her occasionally.
Overall what was notable for me during the experience was that the complete shift from her usual routines and patterns was precisely what we needed in order to move to a "training" mentality. The nudity introduced a level of vulnerability that made her more aware of everything around her, including me. I think in this state of complete newness it almost demanded that she pay attention to what I wanted because nothing was normal anymore and she had to trust me to make it okay for her. The puppy bath, although logistically awkward for me at times, was a nice exchange of intimacy and affection. I was very pleased with the results of using bondage and head gear to bring her slowly from human into herself and back out again as her pup. All in all I walked away from the session thrilled by our initial progress. I was proud of my pup. >click < >click< "Good girl!"