Dog play

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Vintage French photo of doggie training. Ostra Studio (c. 1930s).

BDSM History: Puppyplay

Dog play, doggy play or puppy play is a form of human animal roleplay in which one player assumes the role of a dog or puppy.

Doggie training is one of the more common methods used for the mental and physical conditioning of a novice submissive or slave. Unlike the more elaborate forms of roleplay, doggie training doesn't require special costumes or equipment. It is practiced, particularly in the early sessions, by couples involved in a serious D/s relationship. There are also lifestyle submissives without partners and closet masochists who enjoy degradation who experience this training by hiring a professional dominant or pro-domme.

Doggie training is analogous to military boot camp where the new recruit is forced to surrender his individual identity, egotistic concerns, and freedom of choice. Life is dominated by rigid discipline, routine, and physical exercises. The soldier, like the submissive, learns to obey his superiors without question and to act only when ordered to do so.

Power exchange[edit]

As in the military, doggie training is a basic, and essential, form of power exchange. The submissive (or sub) relinquishes all control to the master and ceases to think or act as an autonomous being. The ultimate goal is to break down the ego and the effects of societal conditioning that have accumulated over the course of a lifetime.

Similar to the practices of meditation, the suspension of random, independent thoughts and actions eventually leads to a calm feeling of liberation from trivial concerns. The sub, free from the burden of decision-making, experiences a unique form of release that enhances the feelings of trust and intimacy instilled by the master.

Humility[edit]

Photo by Ostra Studio (1930s).
Main article: Humility

The first step in all sub training is the elimination of personal identity and the reduction of the ego. As when a person joins the military or a monastic order, they surrender their individuality and are stripped of their civilian/secular clothes and possessions. After their heads are shaved and they put on a uniform garment, they are trained to perform as humble servants to an all-powerful authority.

It is more or less the same with doggie training. The sub is usually stripped naked — as dogs don't wear clothes — and is forbidden to speak (some masters will allow animal noises, barking, etc.). The trainee remains in the on-all-fours position and crawls about like an animal (long sessions may include knee-pads of some sort to prevent abrasions). A dog collar is worn that can only be removed by the master. Most come with a D-ring for attaching a chain or leash. Using an actual dog collar purchased from a pet store adds a touch of realism to the proceedings. Metal dog tags, sometimes inscribed with a personalized pet name, add to the overall psychological effect. In particular, the jingling of the tags (some collars also have little bells attached) acts as a constant reminder of the wearer's new status as a lowly animal that is fully under control of it's master.

The dog-in-training surrenders all personal identity as a human in order to fully assume the role of a simple, unthinking animal. The general aim of the master is to dehumanize, but not necessarily degrade, the newly-created pet (although degradation can also be an effective training tool).

Another way to mentally reinforce the animal identity is the wearing of paw-shaped gloves or cleaning mitts (such as Tidy Paw Dog Gloves) or "paw tectors" made for dogs. Mittens or socks can also achieve the same effect of eliminating human dexterity. The pet-slave is reduced to picking up objects with their teeth on command. The loss of the use of one's hands forces the subject to make a mental adjustment to their new role.

Obedience and discipline[edit]

Film trailer for The Pet (2006).

Obedience is essential to all forms of training. Without it no progress can be made. The trainee must fully commit to the role and obey the master at all times. The master must also remain firm and uncompromising throughout the session.

The doggie is first put on a leash, taken for a walk, and taught basic commands such as "Sit", "Heel", "Beg", etc. Non-verbal commands might also be used such as hand signals, whistling, snapping of fingers, and tapping with a riding crop or other implement. Learning various slave positions are often part of this early training. Once learned they can be called out by name or number, such as: "Assume position one", etc.

Obedience is reinforced by the use of discipline. This can be in the form of scolding, confinement (in a dog house or animal cage) or a few sharp whacks with a riding crop or whip. A variety of methods can be used to keep the trainee focussed and motivated to perform their tasks correctly.

Routine and rewards[edit]

Basic activities include playing "Fetch" — retrieving a stick, ball or other object using only one's teeth. In a group session with two or more couples, this might be turned into a competition where the losing "dog" is whipped.

The master might also enjoy playing games and teaching his pet the same type of tricks one would teach an actual dog.

But mostly, one learns by repetition. A "bad dog" is punished, while a "good dog" may be rewarded with an edible treat or granted an extra privilege. The dog may be taught to follow its master about the house and sleep curled up at his feet. There might also be a special place or rug set aside that the dog returns to as a home base.

Meals are generally eaten from dog bowls placed on the floor. The trainee may get human food or be forced to consume less appetizing dog food depending on the intent of the master.

Punishment and humiliation[edit]

Roleplaying in the Italian sex comedy The Gamecock, aka La Sculacciata (1974).

The level of training and severity of discipline will naturally vary according to the personal tastes of the individuals involved. In some cases, the trainee may want or require more extreme measures.

A gag made from a dog's rubber bone or large chew toy is an effective device that maintains the canine motif. Inserting a rubber butt plug with an attached dog tail is sometmes used as a form of punishment.

Some producers of high-end BDSM equipment (The Stockroom in Los Angeles, et al.) make elaborate leather bondage masks and hoods in the shape of a dog's head. These rather absurd-looking contraptions are especially humiliating for the wearer. There are also tight-fititng full-body animal outfits made out of black latex.

Forcing the doggie-sub to lick the master's boots, lap up water from a puddle on the floor, defecate in the manner of a dog, or perform tricks in front of witnesses are other forms of humiliation training.

A trainee may also be locked inside an actual dog cage, confined within a human-sized dog house or left for long periods of time or overnight chained up in a basement, garage, attic, or outdoors.

Beyond the dog house[edit]

All of these methods can be used to create a basic foundation. Doggie training sessions give the novice a ground-level introduction to the essentials of submission. These are: surrendering one's identity and personal freedom, obedience to a higher power, and acceptance of all disciplinary actions.

Once those lessons have been thoroughly absorbed, one is ready to move up (or "evolve") to a higher level of existence. There are also variations on the pet theme where the submissive is trained as a cat (also known as kitten play), a rabbit, pig, or some other animal. For some, the next step is the more complex and sophisticated activities surrounding Pony play — involving a broad range of elaborate equipment and accessories — or other types of human roleplay sessions using specialized costumes, uniforms or leather/latex bondage-wear outfits.

Doggie training in films[edit]

Doggie slave training (Ostra Studio, c. 1930s)

There are dozens of underground BDSM fetish films that represent a broad range of animal role play with an emphasis on submission, humiliation, and discipline. For example, Dog Training from Whipped Women, Redboard Video's Puppy Sluts series and Doggie Daze from B&D Pleasures starring Gia Regency.

There are also a few hardcore pornographic films such as Rough Sex that depict doggie training as a form of sexual domination. The company PuppySluts.com produces videos that combine BDSM doggie training and sex scenes. The German producer SM-Circus is entirely devoted to making videos depicting the training and discipline of pet girls and pony slaves.

And there is one mainstream film, The Pet (2006), centered around around canine role playing. After the death of his beloved dog, a wealthy man hires a young woman to act as his new pet. She spends much of the story crawling around naked, wearing only a dog collar. She fetches sticks, eats from a dog bowl, and sleeps in a tiny cage. However, despite this premise, the story is not about a S&M relationship and reveals nothing about the BDSM lifestyle in general. The tale quickly evolves into a conventional crime drama about a white slavery ring that conditions its captives with doggie training.

On television, an episode of the FX cable comedy series The League ("The Expert Witness", 2010) has a humorous scene of canine role play. Nick Kroll plays a timid lawyer who submits to a female judge who punishes him for being a "bad dog". He gets on all fours in his underwear wearing a dog collar and a large bone in his mouth while she spanks him with a rolled up newspaper.

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