Interview Responses
from Slave Pug about Pup Play
November 2002


1. What brought you to realize that you were interested in puppy play?

The first time i felt "pug", or any pupness, within me was during my relationship with my prior Master. After dinner one evening, he sat on the edge of the bed to remove his tennis shoes. i watched the shoes hit the floor and, out of the blue, suddenly got a playful urge and found myself going down onto all fours. i started moving about sniffing and making *snortling noises just like my own pugs do. The pug went to sniff the tennis shoes and immediately picked one up in her teeth and carried it off to a corner to chew on. He laughed as he watched me scamper off with the tennis shoe and romp around with it. He called me over to him, petted my head and played some tug-o-war when the pug tried to take off with his other shoe. This pup/Handler interaction went on for maybe 20 minutes. We both discovered that interacting as pup and Handler seemed quite natural and brought us both a tremendous amount of joy.

2. How did you make the decision to be a pug as opposed to another type of dog or animal?

i used to think that i identified as a pug pup since i own pugs. i came to realize that, actually, i own pugs because the characteristics common to the pug breed are characteristics i find within myself as well. It was never a matter of picking what animal or breed i wanted to be; it was a matter of the pug pup within me finding a way to finally emerge.

3. What does it take for you to get into the fugue like state (if you could please described it for me again) in order to become a puppy?

Pup play involves shifting one's mental and emotional gears: shifting one's thoughts and feelings from a complex human perspective to an open, simplistic perspective of a puppy. The time of transition, shifting between the two perspectives, can be extremely awkward. As i gain more and more experience in this shifting process, it becomes a little smoother and easier to adjust to the transition.

For me to be able to go into that full pup mindset, i.e. pupspace, the most important element is having someone i trust be willing to interact with me as a pup, as well as watch over me to ensure i am kept safe, both mentally and physically. The greater the trust i have with the person, the safer and more comfortable i feel and the deeper i seem to be able to go into that pup mindset.

While gear is not necessary for falling into pupspace, it helps. In my past pup experiences, i was used to putting most of my pup gear on myself and would take that time alone to breathe deeply while envisioning my human thoughts being pushed out as i exhaled and feeling more of my pupself emerge as i inhaled. The last items: leather paws and pup collar, would be put on by the person who i was interacting with. The paws would be secured on my hands and then i would go down onto all fours and the person would click the pup collar into place. Hearing the click of that collar come together around my neck was a mental trigger for me: a signal that it was safe for the pup to fully emerge. my pup Trainer completely altered this pattern by having me start with a meditative and visualization process that he guides me through and then having him place all the gear on me. This altered method means a greater level of control for the Trainer since it enables him to determine how i get into pupspace as well as the pace of that process.

4. What does it take to get out of that state of mind? (Can you snap out of it quickly?)

For myself, coming out of pupspace generally involves having the pug pup calm down and rest. my Trainer then begins to remove my gear while talking in a calm and reassuring tone. i tend to feel a need for some time to just rest and allow myself to fully transition back into that human mindset. i often feel extremely vulnerable when i first come out of that pupspace.

If i am abruptly pulled from my pupspace, i am left feeling disoriented and disturbed. Coming out of full pup mode should not be a rushed process.

5. Do you play only with your Master or do you play with other pups?

my Master occasionally plays with me when i am in full pup mode, and He is certainly supportive of me exploring my pupness, yet my pup interaction happens more often with one of my slave brothers who was masochistic enough to become my pup Trainer. When the opportunity arises, i definitely play with other pups: i'm definitely a pack puppy!

6. What is it like to play?

Pup play is an opportunity to let the past and future fall away and focus on being in the present moment. It is an adventure in letting go of a complicated human psyche and allowing myself to respond to my surroundings in a beautifully simplistic manner. It is a celebration of joy in having the most basic of needs and wants met: to eat, drink, rest, play and give/receive affection. Simple, pure, utter joy. It has given me a new understanding and appreciation for why dogs wag their tails.

7. What is your personal favorite to do as a puppy?

Carrying off leather boots and chewing on them!!! *curly tail wagging happily Tennis shoes are okay, but chewing on leather boots is far more fun and satisfying to this pug pup! Shredding newspapers comes in as a close second of favorite pug hobby. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, my Trainer says these hobbies are a no-no. *heavy pug sigh

In terms of Trainer-approved (*another pug-sigh) activities, a pug's favorite thing to do is get curled up close to her human and get lots of scratches and petting.

8. Do other people handle you? Or are you a one-person pup?

Yes, there are some other people that have handled this pug. There have been a couple of times when my Master has decided to have a different person handle me (which is how my slave brother first ended up handling this pug). There are also some other individuals that i trust enough to handle this pug pup for a given period of time, such as Sir Michael who runs the LeatherDOG website: He and any of His family members have my trust.

Being a pup Handler is not the same as being a Trainer or an Owner. Though, one person can embody all three facets for a pup.

From my perspective, i have come to view a Handler as a human who watches over the pup to make sure the pup is not harmed or causes too much trouble while in full pup mode.

A Trainer is a human who takes on the responsibility to develop a level of attentiveness and obedience in the pup in an effort to: 1) keep the pup safe from harm to itself, to others or others' property; 2) prevent the pup from becoming a nuisance to others; and 3) develop a deeper bond between the human and pup.

An Owner is the human that the pup belongs to. my Master is therefore considered my pup Owner, while slave robert is my Trainer and Handler, and once in a while others may Handle me.

9. Does sexual activity play a role as a puppy?

Sexual activity has not been an aspect of my own pup play. Some human pups do integrate sexual activity into their pup play and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Yet many pups, including myself, find that such activity is not essential to the experience and that it would pull us out of our pupspace and back into thinking and responding as humans.

10. How long can you stay in puppy mode mentally? Physically?

i am not sure how long i can stay in full pup mode: there has not been the opportunity to explore being in full pup mode on a long-term basis. The longest time i have had a chance to be in full pup mode, so far, has been 3 hours. i know i can go longer than that both mentally and physically, yet the question of how long is still to be explored.

11. Can you explain puppy bathroom practices?

Eventually Mother Nature calls and one has to "go". Bathroom practices for human pups are a highly individualistic preference. It is something that should be discussed and agreed upon between the pup and Trainer/Handler, before pup play occurs. Male pups have a much easier time with this matter since they can basically lift a leg, shake and go. Female pups have a bit more challenge in terms of... the logistics.

Some pups are content to pad into the bathroom, close the door and then remove a paw in order to take care of their bodily functions. When finished, the paw is put back in place and goes back to all fours when leaving the restroom. Other pups prefer to stay deeper in their pupspace and may have an area covered with newspapers or a walk-in shower stall that the pup may lift a leg and relieve him/herself right there. Other pups may actually prefer to go out to a secluded grassy area.

If it is agreed that the pup will remain in full pup mode even for toilet use, it is the responsibility of the Handler/Trainer to ensure the pup is fully clean afterward.

12. Are all puppies part of the BDSM community?

No, not all human pups are involved in the BDSM community. There are many people who identify with a certain animal species or become involved in animal roleplay to some extent (such as Furries, Anthropomorphs, Theriomorphs, method actors, etc.) and have absolutely no connection to the BDSM community.

13. What role does BDSM play?

While some people might incorporate s/m activity into the midst of pup play, more often the focus is on allowing/encouraging the canine aspects to take over and to just *be* a pup. The question some ask is, "If s/m is not always part of it, why is it found in the bdsm community?" The response is that bdsm allows and encourages the mind and heart to open up and "play": to imagine and explore various fantasies/scenarios. As adults we tend to forget play and imagination. Bdsm often becomes a means of enabling us, as adults, to be open to exploring the creativity and imagination of the human mind, spirit and body. So, for those people exploring the various realms within BDSM, they may find an open and encouraging situation that enables them to tap into that inner pup that they would not have otherwise discovered or dared to explore.

There are elements of D/s (Dominance/submission) that emerge within pup play in that the pup is giving over control of the interaction to the Trainer or Handler. Particularly if a pup is being trained, there will be elements of obedience as well as the use of reinforcement and/or corrective measures to encourage desired behaviors and discourage undesirable behaviors.

14. What is a puppy mosh pit?

A puppy mosh pit is a slang term used to describe any area where a puppy moshing takes place. Envision a human dog park! A puppy moshing is the term used to describe what happens when a bunch of human pups romp and play together while in full pup mode: a jumble of sniffing, barking (snortling if a pug is there!), pawing, scampering, toy stealing, chasing, tugging, posturing, even some dog fighting! i'm a very social pup and love any chance to puppy mosh: it is utter joy for a pug to romp with other pups!

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