Tag Archives | Puppy Play

Finding a Puppy Name

I have been thinking about the process of deciding on a pup name for a while. I find it a fascinating subject because it wasn’t a struggle I had. I am Sparky, and I was Sparky before I even knew what pup play was. I was first named Sparky by my boss on the farm I worked on in college because I would drive the grain truck over the fresh cut fields. The axle on a grain truck can give of a single spark that can turn a wheat field into a roaring blaze in a matter of minutes, so I would hear “SLOW IT DOWN SPARKY” on the CB at least once a day.

The name stuck with the crew, but I didn’t use it elsewhere until a couple years later. I had moved to Seattle and my new roommate, out of the blue, called me Sparky. I stopped short and said, “Why did you call me that?” He didn’t know anything about the farm story, so it was shocking when he said that he just thought the name fit. A couple of weeks later it happened again with another friend, out of the blue and with someone not knowing the story of the other two times. The universe was trying to tell me something.

It wasn’t until nearly 6 years later that I even heard of puppy play. I didn’t have a name or framework for what I was feeling until then. There was Sean, who was responsible and serious, often times focused on a single goal with determination. And then there was Sparky, who was playful and bouncy, unpredictable and sometimes just wild. Looking back I felt like there was two sides to my personality for many years, and when Stompie (owner of Pupzone) first introduced me to the idea of puppy play it all suddenly made sense.

I figured out who Sparky was.

My name came easy to me. It resonated for me. For others, sometimes it doesn’t and it is hard to land on a puppy name. It is important to find one, however, because so much of who you are and how people start building a frame work of you as a puppy starts from that name. You may say, “I don’t like labels!”, sure, but sorry kids that is how the brain is wired. Once we have a label we start filling that label with attributes and associations that build a picture of who someone is. It isn’t perfect, but it’s what we got.

After talking with numerous pups out there about their naming experience I have found there are usually four blocks that inhibit a boy from settling on his puppy name.

Embarrassment – This is an easy discussion to have with a puppy whenever they think they have a name but won’t settle down with it because they are embarrassed for some reason. Maybe the name is too stylized, too gregarious, too sexual. It could be used too much (had a few contact me asking for permission to use my name – hint: I don’t own it!). Most of the time I tell them to just let go. If it makes their puppy side jump for joy, then go for it. If you want to be known as Pup Dildo, then Pup Dildo it is!

Overanalyze – This can be a toughie, as some pups will think about this name versus that name, do cost-benefit analysis charts, conduct surveys and focus group different names. I do love these kinds of pups, because they are so analytical that when you get them into true pup headspace they are the most joyful because of the contrast to their daily lives. For them, I tell them this: For years when I was a kid I played the violin. Tuning the strings is very important, and one of the first things you learn. It was the only thing about a violin I did well because I got from the beginning what the instructor was trying to tell us. Other kids would analyze the process, try to listen, develop patterns that dialed in the strings quickly, but I was always faster at it. I was often asked by the others to tune their strings for them before a concert. The part I figured out was just to listen for the string to resonate. When the string is just right it will vibrate in a way that causes you to feel “right”, the air around the strings and the neck of the instrument vibrate just “right”.  For pups that are analyzing their name, I tell them, pluck the string and see if it resonates, if it stirs an emotion of happiness and pride then you are there, you have found your name. Leave analyzing for work time and other non-pup boring crap.

Waiting for a Sir – As a pup that found my name before I heard of pups, let alone handlers, I am obviously not an advocate of waiting until you find a Sir or Handler to have them name you. There is a pup name in you that is waiting to come out, and a Handler that is worth their salt is only going to help get it out, not come up with something they just like. If the name is inside you then you can be the one to pull it out. Usually these pups, the ones that are saving themselves for a Sir before a name, are not really asking for advice for naming but rather validation for doing so. To them I just ask if they are still happy while they are waiting. Most are not, and the distress of not having a name is causing more harm than good. The answer is then easy. I usually tell these pups they have one week to settle on a name. GET TO IT! Worked so far with anyone I have had to be forceful with.

Mental block – Now here is a classic problem that has an answer. Everyone assumes that to be creative all you have to do is let inspiration do all the work and it will just come to you. The truth is that is the hardest way, and often the least successful. Those that make a living being creative do so using processes. Here is my favorite. Take a sheet of paper and just free form words about yourself or puppy play that you like (not necessarily names, just descriptive words). Write them at different angles and in different ways, use different pens. Don’t follow the lines. Set that sheet aside and on a new one, write down the alphabet from the top down. To the right of each letter do the same thing, write words about you or puppy play that are descriptive and that you like, that start with each letter. A words first, then B words, and so on. You can use words from the previous sheet, but don’t look at it. When done select the words that resonated with you. By now you should at least have some good words that you have liked from this process. Pick your favorite and  create a mind-map. To do this, put the word in the center of a new sheet, then think of names (labels, objects, nouns, whatever) that go with that word. Draw a line from the center of your selected word out and write one of your associated names or nouns out from it. The next name/noun you come up with can either be connected to the original, or the new one. Keep branching out as much as you need to. This works best if sheet ends up a mess, with lots and lots of branches. By now, some names will have percolated to the top, if not one single one, that you are starting to fall in love with. If you are, you can stop as that is your name, or keep going. Take a name from the mind map that is a likely candidate and write down all the attributes about that name. Is it strong. Fierce. Playful. Fun. Timid. Shy. Write them all down, then circle the ones that describe you. If not many, it isn’t the name for you. If you circle them all, that is your name. Repeat this process for other names from your mind map until you land on just the perfect name.

Finding a puppy name should be a fun process and it always saddens me when it stresses a boy out. Let it be fun. Let it be a self-discovery process and open yourself up to possibility. Being a puppy is a chance to be our ideal selves, so chasing after that in a way that is painful or distressing is only going to take you farther from your goal.

Good luck pups, can’t wait to hear your new name!

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Genders, Sexes, Shapes and Sizes

One of the first things we learn to do as humans is to sort — it’s practically instinctual. Over time, we learn to sort hot from cold, dark from light, Gryffindor from Slytherin, and more to the point of this post; boy from girl, young from old, and fit from fat. What’s fascinating about puppy play is how wonderful an activity it is for a mind to explore. You’re able to create an alternate you; a persona, an alter-puppy-ego that provides a way to escape the narrow confines of our daily lives and explore beyond the boundaries of our human instincts. And yet our human instinct to sort, like any good safety net, remains in the back of our minds even while we’re in pup mode, sorting what is important to each of us as puppies.

Sorting “real” puppies…

For example, most will start to sort at moshes or play parties when they begin to identify other puppies according to their characteristics, genders, and even body types. But as our puppy brains start sorting, they may also begin to denigrate some puppies because of what they are and how they look, not because of their personalities as puppies. I am forever hearing about how pups need to come together as a community and create a positive awareness online. And yet, each of us plays a part, our part, in creating a hierarchy among the puppies we encounter. Some take it so far as to lecture others about how they aren’t or can’t be a puppy for a number of reasons. It’s clear that sorting, while natural, also contains the building blocks of prejudice, and it’s this particular kind of sorting that eats away at what I consider the only real rule in puppy play: allowing ourselves the freedom to just “be”  — and in that act, totally being yourself.

Unconsciously or not, we all sort puppies by gender and sexuality, but the real question is whether you turn that instinct to sort into a judgment and act on it, rather than allowing someone else the same freedom that brought you into puppy play in the first place. For what is often considered a male dominated kink, there are still a good number of female puppies within the pup community who deserve both respect and an opportunity to contribute to the community. At times, I have seen male puppies express how their female counterparts are not “real” pups in the community sense.  To them I ask, “what distinguishes a ‘real’ puppy, anyway?” And who has the right to declare puppy play a male-only activity?  We can look back in history and see how women have slowly gained rights, played sports, and even been welcomed into armed combat as comrades. Is it possible that this stigma against women only further hinders their growth and therefore prevents further female puppies from coming out of the woodwork? Moreover, this stigma only leads to more sorting done in the community as far as someone age, weight or even looks.

Shun, tolerate, accept…

For some puppies, play is all about being sexual and nothing else, and I’ll freely admit that when a female pup is at a mosh, the dynamic usually changes and the rules of engagement aren’t always immediately clear. Some puppies cannot mosh with a female present; they become immediately popped out of headspace because of their reason for moshing, which is most likely about the male sexual aspects, the “male energy” that needs to be present.  But rather than shun someone, doesn’t it make more sense just to hang back and see how the situation develops? What is to say a female puppy doesn’t have a very “male energy,” playful, dominant and full of pup?

When a mostly male community sees a female (or even some outlying pup based on size or shape) in their midst there are, in my mind, three things that can be done: shun, tolerate or accept. Firstly, to shun a newcomer within the community is to ensure their experiences and views on the pup community are negative and may even chase them off.  To tolerate would be a more open-minded state, where we are able to recognize someone’s interest, and while we may not understand the appeal or want anything to do with the individual, we admit them to the group, recognize and respect their right to sexually explore play in a safe and fun atmosphere.  Finally, and in my opinion the most open minded choice, is acceptance; to receive this individual whatever sex, gender or body type and admit them to the group regardless if that means you plan to engage in play.

Community: a feeling of fellowship…

Insofar as someone’s involvement in puppy play is concerned, I think it’s both wasted time and none of our business to assess why someone considers himself or herself a puppy. It’s far more useful to examine we each consider ourselves puppies and do what we love and look to pup play for. If that means you don’t want to deal with different genders, ages, or sizes of pups, then maybe that means you practice pup play in a more private atmosphere at your own liberty. However, if you plan to be a part of a community, a certain level of tolerance, at the least acceptance, is due on your part to make people feel like they are part of a community. Did someone challenge you when you came out as a pup to show some pedigree or credentials, or were you simply taken at your word? And, if you’re so focused on who meets all the criteria on your checklist, what is your real intent, and what is your true goal as a pup in the community?

For some it’s simply play and fun, and sex, gender, age and body type are the farthest things from their minds while in pupspace. But almost all of us agree that it’s an opportunity to lay down the burdens of their normal lives for a moment and play in a place free from judgments. For any community to grow and become more mainstream and accepted we must show that we can also be accepting. Part of setting aside all of that thinking we do as humans should be our dismissing the differences between us and focusing more on the common bond we all share: Puppy!


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Episode 56 – It’s a Pug

Puppy play is all the rage nowadays, with all the boys flocking to get their mitts on the latest hoods and tails. With all the fury of all that is going on, sometimes we forget that some of our kink sisters are puppies as well.

When I think of female pups, I always think of Pug. I have known her for years, having been introduced by some mutual friends. If you know her, you know Pug is someone that takes care of her friends and fellow pups, and just a delightful personal all around.

We thought that it would be a great way to bring up the topic of female pups by inviting her on the show and talking about who she is, where she comes from and where her kinks come from.

It was a great discussion and I am so glad she joined us on the show!


Show Notes

In the News

Discussion Topics

  •  Who is Pug
  • Being a female pup in the pup community
  • Her being a part of a gay leather family
  • LA Boys of Leather
  • Southern California Leather Gathering



Mr. S Leather Co.

This episode sponsored by: Mr. S Leather. Check out their new product, the Electro Paddle! Can’t wait to get one of these!



Venus 2000

This episode is sponsored by: The Venus 2000 Masturbation machine! Your relentless milking machine! Check it out at www.nosafeword.com/venus



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Doggy Definitions

dog_readingDefinitions are a fascinating thing – to define something is to give it meaning, but who’s to say a word has a single meaning?  In the same way a story has multiple views or contexts, multiple lessons to learn, so too, does a definition have multiple perspectives and meanings. In a way, to redefine someone or one’s self is a way to add a new perspective to how a person is perceived or how they view of the world.  One such way to redefine yourself, is to grow and explore new exciting kinks and what they mean: puppy play, bondage, fisting, water sports, etc.

For kinky puppies especially, knowing what defines you, what gets your tail-wagging and sexual juices flowing, is a way to not only feel more in tune with yourself, but ensure a fun, open and communicative sexual lifestyle.  What better to expand your intellect, than to redefine words you already know and use them from a new perspective on all-fours!?

This week, for the fun of it, I’ve decided to redefine some things that we instinctively know the definition to, but from the perspective of a pup. I want to capture the fun, magic and playfulness of this art and redefine some very key puppy play related terms in this pup dictionary, or Puptionary. As always, I hope you enjoy!



BACON: a divine human food usually salted and dried or smoked, sliced thin and fried. Also seen as a treat for good pups; while the smell is intoxicating to any surrounding puppies, the only sure way to acquire this sustenance is to sit pretty and beg with an upward look no Handler can resist.

BATH: If you find something especially good to roll in, Handlers get jealous and they use this degrading form of torture to get even. Be sure to shake only when next to a person or a piece of furniture.

BICYCLES: Two-wheeled exercise machines, invented for pups to control body fat. To get maximum aerobic benefit, you must hide behind a bush and dash out, bark loudly and run alongside for a few yards. The person then swerves and falls into the bushes, and you prance away.

BONE: also see “treat,” one of the structures Handlers hide in their pants, with proper stimulation, bones are known to get bigger; puppies are known to bury bones in many places.

BUMP: The best way to get your Handler’s attention when they are drinking a fresh cup of coffee or tea.

DEAFNESS: This is a malady which affects pups when their person wants them in and they want to stay out. Symptoms include staring blankly at the person, then running in the opposite direction or lying down.

GARBAGE CAN: A container which your neighbors put out once a week to test your ingenuity. You must stand on your hind legs and try to push the lid off with your nose. If you do it right you are rewarded with margarine wrappers to shred, beef bones to consume and moldy crusts of bread.

LOVE: A feeling of intense affection, given freely and without restriction. The best way you can show your love is to wag your tail. If you’re lucky, a Handler will love you in return.

SCRITCHES/SCRATCHES: also see “treat,” this form of endearment is usually a way for Handler or other appropriated persons to say “hello” or show good behavior has been performed by a puppy. Key spots include: top of the head, tummy, butt and back.

SNIFF: A social custom used to greet other pups, similar to the Handler exchange of business cards or shaking of hands.

SQUIRREL: these beings are small, furry, usually brown and require immediate attention via barking. At times, depending on headspace, it is also appropriate to yell “Squirrel!” as to allow any pups in the immediate vicinity the alert.

THUNDER: This is a signal that the world is coming to an end. Handlers remain amazingly calm during thunderstorms, so it is necessary to warn them of the danger by trembling uncontrollably, panting, rolling your eyes wildly and following at their heels.

TREAT: entertainment, food, etc., given by way of Handler to pup by some sort of chewable object such as bacon, bone, toy. Treats are of the upmost importance and reason enough to perform menial tasks and “tricks” for a handler.

VET: also known as “car rides,” a hospital where puppies are taken to appraise, verify, or check for accuracy of their health.  A clever front to remove ensure the removal of a puppy’s sexual reproductive capabilities; while no accurate way to respond to this horrific trip exists, shaking uncontrollably or whining loudly sometimes works.

WASTEBASKET: This is a pup toy filled with paper, envelopes and old candy wrappers. It is important to evenly distribute its contents throughout the house before your person comes home.

How to add to the Puptionary…

Got some words you want to redefine or add to this small, but growing dictionary? Send them in or add some words to the comments below so we can do this Puptionary filled up! Join us next week as we continue the squirrel-chasing fun of puppy play!


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How to find a handler…

As I fly home from Tampa, Florida, I’m given a few hours just to reflect. For those of you who might not know, I had the honor and opportunity to compete in a little competition called International Puppy 2014 . . . No Biggie.  What made the trip so exciting and wonderful were the many different types of puppies we met, the different kinds of handler and pup dynamics, and just seeing how these types of puppies conduct themselves in large social settings. We met rubber pups, leather pups, boy pups, slave pups, alphas, betas, strays, and even puppies who didn’t want or need a handler. Even better, I was able to take this trip with my handler by my side, giving me constant support as I competed. My handler was, in all respects, there for me: helping me practice my speech, which you can view here, assisting my costume changes, and ensuring I was hydrated during photo shoots while emotionally and physically holding my hand and encouraging me 110%. As a puppy, having that sort of bonding time with your handler is what makes puppy play what it should be: Fun! I have a new respect for not only my handler for all he does, but handlers in general for putting up with our butt plugs, barking and constant need of nuzzles and attention. Even at competitions like International Puppy where the focus is mostly on the pup, we have to give credit to the handler in large part. It just wouldn’t run as smoothly without them helping behind the scenes, whether it’s grabbing entire costume changes at the last minute or providing first aid for obstacle course injuries — to name just a few of my own experiences. Being a handler is by no means a small responsibility, but I want to take this opportunity to thank mine from the bottom of my heart for being my handler and making my pup self the luckiest puppy ever!

Making the connection…


With that said, let’s get into the real meat of this topic: essentially it’s how and where puppies and handlers find one another. I’ve asked this question before of a number of people and have gotten a wide variety of replies. Often, the first response you hear is “online.” With social networking accounting for large percentages of online relationships, and puppies still being a very spread thin in many local communities, the internet has exploded with pups (which is ironic considering paws don’t actually make for easy typing). Every day I check my Pup Amp Facebook page only to discover a new friend request from a pup or two, usually accompanied with nuzzles and licks on my wall. As far as social networking goes, I think it’s done a wonderful thing for puppies and handlers: it has a given a low entry level for being a pup publically, allowed for making new pup friends, and finding potential handlers, whether they’re local or virtual. In fact, more than half the people I met in person at International Puppy this last weekend I had already interacted with at least once in an online chat — and many of them were handlers looking for pups.

In the very same way that social networking allows for “easy access” when searching for a pup/handler, another popular answer to “how did you meet your handler/pup” is “through online dating apps.” With apps like Recon, Scruff and Growlr, we see a whole community of handler/pup candidates at the very tips of our puppy paws who are virtually available 24/7. Ironically enough, Scruff is where I found my handler, Kevin, as well. I recommend dating apps for finding new people in your area, but with an additional word of warning about catfish as well (you can read that post here)  Never assume anything about someone you’ve only met online. Always be cautious and aware that you, as a pup or a handler, have rights and can make choices when looking for your pup play counterpart.

Last, but far from least remains another fairly typical answer to finding a handler is to simply not to look in the first place! I like to think that being yourself is ultimately what someone will be drawn to or put off by, and if being a puppy just happens to be the icing on the cake — hey, even better! You’d be surprised how many times I hear how someone goes on a date, totally unsuspecting that the other person might have their own kinks, only to find a pup or handler sitting across the table from them.  Similarly, I’ve even had a pup friend approached at a bar by a stranger who got the pup’s attention by calling him “puppy,” out of nowhere. And it was all downhill from there. Not looking and keeping options open is the most stress-free way to find a pup or handler,  and that approach will provide for less desperate circumstances and pave the way for a more organic relationship to form.

Always protect yourself…DSC_6688

Once you’ve gotten through all that risk-taking and connection-making and you’ve found a prospective handler or pup, then what? First and foremost, you have to test that person out, make a checklist of need/wants/red flags and start chatting. Make sure this person is who you want and who he/she says they are. I’ll be the first to admit to doing some cyberstalking of new love interests, be it puppy or not. Everyone in today’s day and age has at least some sort of Facebook presence, and you should never feel bad for doing a discreet background check of your own to keep yourself safe. And well before you start the negotiations, you should make sure you click with the person. Get to know the person you’re interested in and consider your chat a kind of job interview, but with a lot more lube. Speaking from the personal experience my handler and I had, we moved after chatting on Scruff to very detailed e-mails back and forth where we really got to know each other and began to make a deep connection. These e-mails were also well before making any plans to meet in person. (The funniest part, we found later, was that we had more than a few common friends and had actually met at a birthday party a month or two before we found each other online and started to discuss puppies.) We made ourselves as transparent as possible and began our negotiations and stated expectations from there. While some of those initial expectations have stayed the same over time, a relationship such as this tends to also evolve as involved parties work to maintain open lines of communication.

When it’s all said and done, the most important thing is to be yourself — and expect no less from any perspective pup or handler.I can promise you will know if that next person is right for you when they come along. Explore and experience the pup community, but know that a handler does not make a pup, and a pup does not make a handler. Be open, be safe, be consensual, and don’t forget to have some tail-wagging and squirrel chasing fun along the way!


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The Eeveelution of Handleritis

Look closely, and you might notice an epidemic in the puppy community. Let’s call it Handleritis. It’s a very common ailment that most pups go through when first getting into the community. Some experience a full recovery, while others become so obsessed that they can think of nothing else.  Now, while handleritis is far from fatal, it is a chronic problem many puppies face: they want a handler, a trainer, Master or Sir of some kind that they can call their own. They seek someone to share a very strong bond with.  While many puppies are “strays,” so much depends on the individual puppy and how he/she goes about finding their ideal counterpart. Some might they feel they need a handler, while others might feel empowered being a stray, a wolf, or just “a strong independent puppy who don’t need no handler…”

So what is a handler? What are the expectations between the pup and handler? Finally, what are the differences in the types of handlers out there? At face value, a handler is usually the dominant figure, more assertive of the two people in a pup and handler relationship; he/she cares for the pup, guides the pup and provides a safe and consensual space to explore and be a puppy. Beyond that definition, handlers come in all shapes, sizes, levels of experience and with different expectations, respectively.  Expectations are sometimes negotiated, sometimes found through play and building a stronger pup/handler bond, and sometimes protocols are specifically given by the handler to the pup.

Expectations are what determine what sort of handler a pup wants or is looking for and visa-versa.  Handlers have a lot of latitude as far as how they want to relate to a pup, and that’s where the magical evolution lies.  A pup/handler relationship is what both parties agree to (or consent to); it can be about bondage, leather, rubber, cuddling, eating out of a dog bowl, etc., so long as both are happy and one identifies as a pup — you have a handler.
EeveelutionsThat said, there are a few specific types of handlers, let’s travel to the Pokémon world: a handler can be compared to an Eevee (who can be downright powerful without evolving via stones), the other handler types are simply different Eeveelutions: Flarion, Vaporean, Jolteon, and so on.  One such handler is what’s known as a trainer. Trainers are handlers who specifically train pups. Usually, they have a curriculum, or a game plan as far as how pups are trained and at what speed; a trainers goal is to have a trained pup by the end of their encounters.  Trainers are not expected to be significant others or have sexual relationships with pups. Another sort of handler might be the Sir.  Sirs can be handlers to their boy pups, training them as boys at times, a puppy in another instance, or a mix of the two respectively. Masters, like the Sirs, train their slavepups in a similar but slightly different fashion.

So some of you might be curious – how does one search for a hander? How did I find mine? How and where do handlers and pups look to find each other? While I can’t guarantee that Amazon has them available to order, I can guarantee that we will dive right into that topic . . . next week!

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Shorts 03 – Organizing a Puppy Group

For this show, we are joined by the president of Seattle Pups and Handlers (SEA-PAH), Matthew! The group has been going through the process of establishing all of the details it takes to be an organization. The board is meeting soon to discuss what comes next for the group.

It’s always interesting to check-in with groups when they are at this stage to see what is involved with taking the group up to that next level. It takes a lot of work to set up an organization to thrive for years to come. Litters of pups to come will be grateful!


Show Notes

Discussion Topics

  •  The “Julie the Cruise Director Story”
  • We get to know Matthew here is a bit
  • The structure of the puppy group
  • The types of events they put on
  • Their upcoming board retreat and why they are organizing

About Our Guest

Matthew is the president of Seattle Pups and Handlers (SEA-PAH), one of the upstart puppy groups taking root throughout the Northwest and the rest of the US. Check out their website for more information about  their group. Find Matthew at recon.com/ILove1stClass.


This episode sponsored by: Mr. S Leather.



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Something Fishy

Catfish are a rare breed of fish in the kink community. Easy on the palette initially, catfish are a delicacy that’s never sought after, but it’s likely everyone will find it on the menu eventually. And make no mistake: Catfish are clever. They flop around for your attention and they might even give you a taste or two to whet your appetite. But before you know it — and long after you’re hooked and wanting more, they swim off — leaving you emptier than you were before encountering them. Even considering how fishy they truly smell (given the heightened senses of a puppy’s nose), a few catfish can slip past even the smartest and most aware puppies. As urban dictionary so appropriately describes them: “A catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they’re not, using Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances,” and while that definition may appear somewhat harmless in the abstract, it doesn’t begin to account for the emotional damage a catfish can wreak on a pup.

How do I know? Well, there was a point in time when I was just getting into kink in general, before I knew I wanted to be a pup, that I started pursuing possible love interests/dates/play. Signing onto the many dating apps and chat rooms opened up a whole new world for me; one that offered many different points of view, with no one to tell me no, or direct me, or say, “Hey, get on your knees and suck this.” (At least I think that’s how a Disney movie would put it). But seriously, I was thrilled to know that I could log on and see who was within a 15-mile radius of my current location and exchange dirty/flirty comments with guys who wanted to do horrible, horrible, perversely awesome things to me. Even knowing this though, I was cautious: I did my weeding through the junk mail and creepers and chatted nicely with someone for long periods of time before meeting up, or even considering a “meat-and-greet,” for that matter.

Personal experiences…

Then he messaged me — the fishiest guy I’d ever had the chance to “meet” online. We chatted for what seemed like weeks, off and on. And at first, I was cautious of a guy who lived 500 miles away who had “happened” upon my profile that one day. At the time, he had a personality that was charming and dominant, with an endless supply of pictures for any occasion to back up those traits. He seemed legitimate. Weeks turned into a month, and wouldn’t you know it, but he was planning to move to my home city; he was looking for a new start and a new man to go with his new life. This should have been more than enough for me to say, “hold your horses” (or seahorses, in fish context), but I was still hopeful to meet this gorgeous guy who knew how to push my buttons. He continued to chat with me, lead me on, call me his pup and tell me of all the kinky things he knew I wanted done to me — all the while fishing for new details to keep me hooked. He would set a date for when he planned to visit, but some unforeseen disaster would always keep him from making good on his promise. He’d lost his job; his mother had a heart attack, there was a car accident . . .  whatever.

In conclusion…

That’s when I learned that the second you question a catfish or get upset because something smells fishy, he pivots to put the shame and blame on you for being insensitive or slow to trust. Long story short, I got somewhat attached to our conversations, but he never did visit. As a result, I became evermore cautious online. I also learned a good deal about protecting myself and my emotions — and about taking time to do the proper background checks that should accompany any kinky encounter.
Puppies, bless all their tail-wagging, squirrel-chasing hearts, are a rambunctious and affectionate bunch of kinksters. But sometimes, they’re naive and rush to attach to someone new and promising. They love unconditionally, follow those they hold close to the ends of the Earth, and they can often be very submissive. Puppies are also incredibly loyal to those who will chat and make them feel loved and cared for. Similarly, as online dating becomes more mainstream — with 59% of Americans regarding online introductions as a beneficial addition to the dating process (Herald News) — catfish are having a blast! I know several puppies who have fallen into a funk once a catfish has duped them, and just as many pups who’ve been taken advantage of because of how they’ve been told a puppy ought to behave. Puppies always have rights, though. And it’s certainly possible to avoid catfish and other fishy guys by keeping a few fundamentals in mind. This week, I’d alike to point out a few easy steps that will always ensure you pups go into a kinky discussion/playdate/whatever feeling safe, secure and ensuring you don’t get catfished:

  1. Trust your instincts. If it feels wrong, back off, ask more questions, or move on. Think with your brain, and not your dick. If it smells like a fish and acts like a fish, it’s probably a fish!
  2. Don’t play or plan to play privately with a stranger you don’t know. Do your background checks. Find them on Facebook. Ask them who they know in the kink/pup/bondage/daddy/sir/boy community in your area. The people who are worth playing with have real names, places where they work and and should have a circle of friends who will vouch for them.
  3. You have a voice! You don’t have to do what they say (and certainly not in this early discovery phase). A playdate/date/relationship, be it kinky or not, is about communicating. Remember that no one can take power from you that you don’t willingly surrender. It’s fine that you want to submit, but be sure first that the person you’re submitting to is going to treat you with respect for your safety and boundaries.
  4. Know what you’re getting into and be clear with the person you’re chatting with about precisely what is going to happen and how.
  5. Never assume. Always have a backup plan in case of a disaster. Play cautiously and never give anyone the benefit of the doubt without them first earning your trust.
  6. Never give out any personal information that could cause you trouble in the long run. Again, don’t trust anyone without them demonstrating first that they are trustworthy.
  7. Don’t think that just because they seem perfect, that they are. Catfish know how to play to your weaknesses and push your buttons. It’s a game they play very well.

Now go fish. And may your next catch be the guy of your dreams… literally!


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You Know You’re a Puppy When

Coming to accept your inner puppy is a big step for people as they trek through their kink (and otherwise vanilla, or so-called “normal”) lives.  Choosing to join a new subculture, learning, exploring and otherwise defining oneself further is often life-changing. While coming out of the closet in my late teens was a huge part of what defined me as a person, I believe coming out as a puppy has both clarified that definition and opened new worlds to me in ways I can’t begin to explain entirely. Coming out of the closet — or in this case, coming out of the doghouse as a puppy — gave shape to innumerable characteristics and personality traits I’ve struggled with for years.

So you’re a puppy huh?

So how did I come to the conclusion I was a puppy, and how did I know that sort of lifestyle was for me? And let me emphasize, I choose the term “lifestyle” because I define it and in turn the lifestyle defines me as a person and a puppy. This doesn’t mean that I go to work in a harness and tail, but rather to say that who I am as a person draws from and lends support to my pup personality as Amp. I always smile to myself when I see a puppy doing something only a puppy would do, or worrying about something that only a puppy would stress about. It’s in those moments you can actually step back and observe your own puppy traits, plain as the nose on your snout.

You know you’re a puppy when…

Have you ever been so angry at a co-worker that you’ve physically growled at them?  How about finding your butt wagging back and forth when you get excited or happy? Ever jumped and excitedly turned and at the sound of a squeaking toy or someone yelling “SQUIRREL!”? Or maybe you just have an undying hatred for felines and of all catty people in general. Well, I hate to break it to you, but you just might be a puppy.

So for the sake of all potential and curious puppies out there, I ‘ve provided a few traits you may want to look out for if you’re wondering if you’re a puppy. You know you’re a puppy when:

  • Licking something automatically makes it yours.
  • The word “squirrel” immediately takes precedence of all your attention, No Matter What.
  • You have completely forgotten what you’re doing, because of the forementioned word that shall not be mentioned again.
  • Someone mentions they’ve got a treat for you, and you realize suddenly that you would do anything for it.
  • Something/someone new must ALWAYS be sniffed before interaction.
  • The word “bone” has many connotations. All of them good.
  • You have to use the term “bio-dog” to differentiate in conversation.
  • All conversations sooner or later land on the topics of dogs and/or dog behavior.
  • Proving your dominance to your friends is of the upmost importance.
  • Cuddling and closeness is the most important thing in any relationship.
  • Dog puns are a part of everyday life.
  • You could throw a ball back and forth all day.
  • Pampering yourself involves a trip to the pet store.
  • Speak doesn’t usually end with you making actual words.
  • Falling asleep on the floor is normal.

Like any community, being a puppy comes with certain social expectations and personality trait associations. As any puppy can attest, we are some of the craziest kinksters out there, both social and awkward at the same time. We can be loving; but are always looking for more love.


Just for good measure…

And last but not least, here’s a perfect example of puppy — and cat — characteristics and traits as performed by some adorable boys!)

Cat-Friend vs Dog-Friend

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Pet Play and Puppies


It was a chilly walk down the street to “The Bunker,” as it was called.  So much bouncing around inside my head about this new kink I was about to venture into; puppy play. As I walked, the city was the same; cars honking and sirens blaring in the usual chorus of city sounds.  Everyone in the city was up to their usual antics, but today, today . . . I was on my way to a mosh. The Facebook invitation had given the address and time of what was called a “puppy mosh,” and I still wasn’t sure what to think of it all.  I mean, it was so overwhelming, and I didn’t have any of that gear I had always pictured on puppies: tail, mask, mitts, kneepads, and who knew what else was expected of me! Overwhelmed and excited and just a tad scared, I remember those being the biggest sensations in my stomach as I arrived at the big brick building and rang the buzzer.  It was my first step into puppy play, in educating myself on what it means to be a puppy, but it certainly wouldn’t be my last. As I’ve already stated, this blog is simply one pup’s experience of what puppy play means and involves, and telling the tail of my adventures thus far. Like any typical journey there is a beginning, where the protagonist is just getting his bearings and only beginning to understand the potential within himself, then learning the history and the basics of what lies ahead. So rather than bore you with my personal history again, lets discuss where puppy play has come from, some of the basic pup archetypes that exist, and go from there!

A Brief Hirstory in Pet Play

The House of Hunt portraying Pup Play and Pony Play side by side. Photo by Chris Baggaratzi

The House of Hunt portraying Pup Play and Pony Play side by side. Photo by Chris Baggaratzi

So we’ve already established what puppy play is, a typical situation involves a top/dom handler and a bottom/sub pup, but how did this dynamic begin? Puppy play itself actually sprang from a larger category of animal roleplay, or pet play, which includes pup play, pony play, kitten play, pig play and whatever animal identity the players choose to represent themselves.

While much of this activity has been nailed down to specifics today, pet play didn’t start out so well-defined and, in fact, it’s been around much longer than many realize. Some say that the notion of pet play came from the myths and legends we’ve all heard while growing up — with heroes and villains who told us stories of might and magic in order to teach lessons, usually with some moral encoded within. We can even draw parallels to comics in contemporary life from the pantheon of superheroes: Catwoman, Wildcat,  Batman, and one of my favorites, Wolverine, just to name a few of comic’s iconic characters who take on animal characteristics.

Others would say that culturally, therianthropy was the first form of pet play and a common ritual part in many tribes, in which members of the tribe would take the role physically and often spiritually of an animal revered orhunted. Therianthropy is the metamorphosis of humans into animals via shape-shifting. Other terms you may have heard of that fall under this include: lycanthropy (werewolves), cyanthropy (weredogs), and ailuranthropy (werecats).  In this way, the construct of pet play was seen by the surrounding society as empowering and mystical.

How does this fit into BDSM community?

So knowing all this, how has pet play been incorporated into today’s BDSM world? Even in modern pet play scenes, some continue to regard it as a type of therianthropy, where an “inner pet” is a spirit animal of sorts, a totem, in which the participant seeks to become spiritually closer to his or her pet nature by acting the part and visualizing yourself at one with whatever totem you choose.  Some people find this use of pet play and totems similar to how furries in today’s society use “fursonas” (a furry persona) to portray themselves — but that is another blog post entirely.

For some, pet play can also revolve around power play, degradation, humiliation and any sort of headspace and scenario acceptable to those involved. For others still, this type of play can exist in any space between a 24/7 living house pet, or just the occasional play for a few hours meant to help an individual unwind and forget the shackles and worries of everyday life.  Pet play is up to each consenting adult as to how it is used and for what duration and all parties have a say as to how it is performed and to what length.

But what about puppies!?

Early Pup Play masks

Early Pup Play masks

Puppies, as we’ve discussed, have come from the play in which a person takes on the behaviors of a canine, with a handler or owner caring for that pup.  But what sets puppy play apart from other pets lies in the different classifications of puppies that exist.  One classification of a puppy exists within how puppies are organized or identified on different levels: The Alpha Pup is always top dog,  and under them romp the Beta pups, and lower on the scale there are even Omega pups, too. This type of hierarchy is something often discovered during play scenes — who can top who — or is sometimes determined by a puppy owning another puppy via a collar, or a chain around his neck. In this collaring example, a Handler could collar an Alpha pup, and the Handler or Alpha could then collar a Beta pup and so on. Within the BDSM community, a collared puppy is owned, accounted for and has a handler or master who should always be asked for permission before approaching their pup.

Other classifications of pups help to describe what they are into, and for what periods of time. Dogs are one such subset, which tells us that they are seen as a dog, treated as a pet and that they behave as any real four-legged dog would. They exist to service a master the same as any pet, and they are more comfortable on all fours; the main difference between a dog and a puppy is his goal.  Where a dog is on all fours and looks to physically and mentally portray a canine, a puppy looks to play, be it sexually or not, as a pup with the understanding that they are human at times standing up and doing  things for themselves when need be. Then there are dogboys (or pupboys) who act as a human pup at times and a boy to their Daddy at others. There are also slavepups, who are sometimes a Handler’s pup, other times their Master’s slave and sometimes even a mixture of the two. The constellation is a big one, and growing all the time to incorporate leather pups and rubber pups, which are pups with gear fetishes of one kind or another, and pigpups or pigdogs who have a certain fondness for filth, piss, scat, mud, pain, etc.  Puppies can even be described by their profession, as in Devil Dogs, a term used to describe puppies who are or were once members of the United States Marine Corps.

So how does knowing all this help you become a better puppy? For starters, knowing what you are and where you came from makes for clearer negotiating as a knowledgeable puppy. Understanding what is expected, and what classification of pup you are will only help you and a potential handler connect on a deeper level. And finally, knowing you have rights and a say in what you want is crucial. Some handlers will say there is only one way to train a pup, when in fact, there are many ways in which puppy play has been and can be interpreted. Does that make any one method wrong? Absolutely not! I am simply stating that what works for one puppy and gets his tail wagging will not necessarily be what another puppy has in mind.

When I first stepped foot into that bunker so long ago, I knew nothing of any of this history or even the most basic classifications of pets or pups. This knowledge has been something I have had to pursue through reading books, or scouring the internet, because puppy play is something I wanted to pursue.  Its an activity I love and enjoy, and hope to share with all those who read this blog. I offer this information not only to those considering making that first step into the puppy play scene, but as an invitation to anyone interested in puppy play to educate yourself even further. Puppy play is about being yourself in a different state, a state where you are comfortable, able to relax, be silly or spiritually close to your pup self. But puppy play is also about educating yourself: Learning, being safe, and finding it out what it feels like to truly let go and romp!


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Amp’in it up!

*sniff sniff… *

So you’re probably wondering to yourself, “self, who is this crazed, masked freak sniffing me?!”

Well after any good sniffing from a pup comes a proper introduction of who that puppy is. Who, huh? Who is but the form following the function of what, and what I am is a human in a puppy mask.  However, “who” I am is far more important to the substance of this blog than what.  So let me simply say that it’s my “Amp-le” opportunity to auspiciously announce that it’s a pleasure to meet you and that you may call me Amp. I am a human puppy, and I am writing this blog to discuss and explore the world of puppy play.

Like many people in life, I have an interest within a certain community and I want to share ideas, ideals, and answer questions to further the progress of an already growing kink called puppy play.  Human dog training, or puppy, is a playful, loving type of roleplay where one person assumes the role of a pup (playful affectionate sub) while another person, the Handler (caretaker and owner of the pup).   Puppies come in all shapes and sizes, genders and backgrounds — and even breeds; they just happen to see doctors who treat them instead of vets. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet . . . no spoilers!

The Road to Puppy Play…

Let me tell you about my own pedigree. I didn’t always dream of romping around on all fours and barking at squirrels. I too had my own introduction into what constitutes a human puppy.  Ironically enough, I’ve always grown up fascinated by dogs. Growing up as a gay boy in a Catholic grade school, I was somewhat of a stray myself, and I loved how loyal dogs were; how affectionate and unconditional they were in their love (even after you chopped their balls off).

Fast forwarding to 2011, I witnessed the wagging buttplugs and playful masks of puppies for the first time at a local bar.  I was taken aback at first, watching their tails furiously bouncing as the boys romped around nearly naked. But I also noticed one thing inside those floppy hoods: their eyes gleamed, and the way they sparkled with such a playful nature gave off an almost raw representation of their emotions. I was curious. It wasn’t until a camping trip with some gay friends later that year that I first witnessed a puppy and handler outside of gear. The connection they shared was deeper, more meaningful and so fucking adorable compared to any vanilla relationship I had ever seen. I was hooked; I wanted to be a puppy.  So naturally, I did what any boy does to distinguish a human from a dog; I decided to buy a rubber tail and stick it up my ass! Clearly, I was still new to this…

Puppy wants a bone

Amp at The Best in Show Show.

What is Puppy Play to me…

So what have I learned since then, and what is a puppy, anyway? Well, since those first interactions, I have grown as a kinky person and as a pup. I learned quickly after much lube and discomfort, that a tail is not what makes the pup.  No, a pup is distinguished by his actions and instincts: loving and loyal, inquisitive and playful, and, from time to time, full of mischief. So what is and isn’t puppy play? Puppy play is not about bestiality.  Similarly, puppies are not about humiliation, at least not initially. At the core, puppies are about that unconditional love, that spark of playfulness in a pup’s eye when he sees a squeaky toy, and that connection I had witnessed so long ago while camping.  Being a puppy —  to me — is about an opportunity to step outside my identity in the world of responsible adults who have bills to pay and jobs to do.   Amp provides a much-needed outlet to unwind, to be my puppy self and be as playful and sexual as I want with my handler.

Getting Involved…

I’m blessed that Seattle has such a wonderful kink community and active pup group, Sea-Pah (Seattle Pups and Handlers), both communities of which have always given me a safe place I felt accepted and appreciated.  Since becoming a pup, I’ve competed in a number of events like The Best In Show Show (held by SEA-PAH) and the Northwest Puppy (held by Cascadia Leather Rising) both events of which I won runner-up awards and enjoyed a tail-wagging good time. I’ve been to a number of major leather and rubber events, including IML and Rubbout. Similarly, I’m also involved as the current “Barketing Manager” who handles all graphics and marketing on the Sea-Pah Board of Directors, where I assist in fundraising events.   I’ve networked with pups around the world and started to produce and distribute pup fetish gear providing pups with a way to show pride wherever they go.

So let me just end by saying that I cannot wait to dive in, doggy-paddle furiously, maybe even splash a cat or two as I start this blog. I look forward to discussing the full range of pup topics, answering questions, and, with any luck, shedding new light on the diversity of viewpoints in the ever-expanding universe of puppy play.  More than even that, though, I want to give back to a community that has given me so much!

Like, share, comment and question, and I’ll catch you kinksters later! Dont forget to follow me on Twitter and Facebook
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Episode 46 – Figaro!

We had the pleasure to have on our show our friend Pup Figaro, the recent winner of the newly created Northwest Puppy Contest. He was joined by his handler, Wruff Pack Handler, and their Squeak Toy!

We had a discussion all about his journey to becoming a pup and a kinkster, and his experience with the contest. We also talk about their very interesting family dynamic and the number of pups in their pack. How they keep it all in their head, I’ll never know!

It was a good time and a wild night that we are happy to have you be a part of! Enjoy!


Show Notes

 In the News

About Our Guest

Pup Figaro is a musician and pup extraordinaire from Vancouver, B.C. Canada. He is very active in VAH-PAH and other Northwest puppy groups. He lives with his handler Wruff Pack Handler, and with their Squeak Toy. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.


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Episode 38 – Slavepup Axel

This pup was in town for the Northwest Puppy Contest recently, where Daddy Tony got a chance to meet him. It seemed like a natural fit to talk with him about his experience as the current International Puppy title holder.  Slavepup Axel is a bouncy pup with a lot of energy, and he is more than happy with focusing that energy on representing the pup community.

We talk about all sorts of puppy related issues and what it is like being a title holder puppy!


Show Notes

In the News

Discussion Topics

  • Who is Slavepup Axel?
  • How he got the international title
  • What is it like being a judge at the Northwest Puppy Contest?
  • Organizing, community, and fundraising for kink groups
  • Talk to the puppy just getting started

About Our Guest

Slavepup Axel is International Puppy 2013, the first pup to win the title since the organization was created in 2011. He identifies as part tolling retriever, part submissive, and part butthead-mutt. This year, he has appeared in 13 states and 2 provinces, performing demonstrations, fundraising for pup groups and charities, representing International Puppy, and advocating for pups in the leather and kink communities. S.P. Axel is handled, trained, humiliated, abused, and loved by Master Kevin Chaulk of Vancouver and Sir Kevin Mischka of Washington, D.C. He lives with his husband of 15 years in Richmond, Virginia. Find him on Facebook and his blog.

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Episode 15 – Pup Snuggles

We got to spend some time to talk with one of the pups that we all here at NoSafeWord have had the chance to get to know over the years, Pup Snuggles. Not only is he a very cute puppy, he is also one of those people that reaches out to many people across the kink world to try to help in any way he can, either through the organizations he is a part of or one person at a time.

We spend some time getting to know Snuggles and where came from, as well as have a great conversation about what his kink family dynamic is like. We were looking forward to having him on and hope you enjoy learning about him as much as we did!


Show Notes

In the News

Discussion Topics

About Our Guest

Pup Snuggles has been part of the leather community since IML in 2006 and has avidly researched the leather lifestyle ever since. He has been with his Sir, Victor, since before learning about the leather community and it has strengthened their relationship as well as making him a stronger person and pup. In addition to being with his Sir, they have another loving member of their poly family, Solomon.

Pup Snuggles is the co-founder of Chicago Puppy Patrol, founder for International Pups and Handlers, previous President for Bloomington Kink, a photographer, graphic designer, website designer, massage therapist, and renaissance reenactor. He holds the following titles: Indiana Leather boy 2010 and Great Lakes Leather boy 2011.

Find Pup Snuggles on Facebook, Recon, and Tumblr.


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