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The Dog Dish
44 minutes | a year ago
Puppy Hierarchy and Its Discontents
You’ve probably heard the idea of an Alpha Male before. If you’ve been around pups long enough, you’ve probably heard of an Alpha pup and a Beta. And Gamma. And omega. The hierarchy we’ve created within the puppy-play community has its uses, but it can also create some serious problems. In this episode, we’ll look at the troublesome side of puppy hierarchy. It’s a recording of a talk I gave at Florida Power Exchange 2019. You can also view and contribute to the notes of the talk. Hierarchy History Did you know that research into captive wolves, published back in the 1940s, created the concept of hierarchy within dog packs? And did you know the author of that research recanted his conclusions in the 1990s? That’s right — the researcher who came up with this stuff has since said it doesn’t actually exist. So that means if we rely too heavily on that structure, we’re leaning on a fictional construct of convenience. We need to very carefully check how and why we use our hierarchical structure and make sure it accounts for human nature as well as canine behavior. Both are pretty complex. It’s All About Power People negotiate their dynamic exchange of power between with every interaction. That dynamic changes based on individual needs and surrounding circumstances. If I walk up to someone who looks like they’re having a bad day, I’m going to approach them with a more supportive demeanor. If someone appears angry, I have to take a completely different approach, possibly coming on strong to talk them down from physical violence. It all depends on circumstances. Hierarchies within our play scenes and dynamics should be no different. People need to respond to different circumstances. When someone labels themselves as Alpha and expects that to go unchallenged, I have to wonder why they feel entitled. If someone says they’re an omega, and folks expect them to stay that way, they miss an opportunity for growth. My Proposal In this talk, I eventually build to this point: Pups should use hierarchical roles to describe performances, not to label people. When I introduce myself within the puppy community, I say I’m a proud stray gamma pup. Instead, I should say I’m a pup who’s currently stray and proud of it and acting as a gamma. That presentation suggests it’s all fluid, describing me now, not permanently. There’s plenty more to chew on in this episode. I deliberately try to poke the bear, so I’m bound to say something that doesn’t sit right with everybody. This should be fun!
50 minutes | a year ago
Consent in Pet Play
“But I’m an innocent puppy!” We pups are notorious for claiming our innocence. (That’s because we are innocent!) But one aspect of pet play gets us in more trouble than it should: Consent. We should all know the importance of obtaining consent before engaging in any kind of scene. Heck, many of us are good as obtaining consent before giving someone a hug. As bipedal humans, most of us know what to do. But what happens when we’re in headspace? As pups, should we be expected to negotiate a scene and obtain consent? I mean, bio-pups don’t know how to negotiate, right? Wrong. Canines use the bow posture to request and consent to play with each other. So to truly act like a dog, your play should start with a similar request, and play should not begin until your play partner indicates willingness. The need for negotiation and consent gets more important — and more complicated — when interacting with “muggles” (people not in the kink scene). If someone doesn’t know about pet play, they need to understand the situation before they can consent to it. This Episode’s Interview To help walk us through this thorny subject, I interviewed Topher Chandler. He’s been a puppy for ten years, he co-founded Florida Puppy Contest, and he’s co-producer of Unity Leather & Fetish in Tampa, Florida. Topher has plenty of ideas about consent and about what we should expect of one another in the puppy community. As a heads-up, Topher has a reputation here in Tampa for saying what’s on his mind. When he meets new people, he often warns them: “I have no filter, and if I don’t like something you say or do, you’ll be the first to know.” Our conversation gets blunt, and where many people would suggest an option for behavior, Topher sometimes states ultimatums. It’s an interesting approach when talking about negotiation, but I think you’ll see why he makes his case the way he does. This conversation is fun, informative, and provocative. I hope it gets you thinking, and I hope it helps you make obtaining consent a regular part of every aspect of your play.
74 minutes | a year ago
The Power of Headspace
Modern pet play has its roots in degradation scenes in BDSM. Treating someone like an animal makes them lower than humans — in rights, in power, and in stature. But it also means they are free to worry less and play more. Headspace provides benefits to pet players and creates relationships that can be challenging to navigate. In this episode, I present a discussion that confronts those challenges head-on. Back in September 2019, I presented “The Power of Headspace” at Florida Power Exchange. We chatted about how to negotiate and signify power dynamics within pet play. Along the way, learned how to properly greet a canine, how to kick yourself out of headspace (no, it’s not like Inception), and what you really need to negotiate before starting a pet-play scene. If you want to follow along as we go (sort of), you can view and comment on my notes from the talk. Keep in mind that we followed the natural conversation more than we stuck to the outline. The discussion and the document don’t always align. Speaking of Negotiating… If you heard the previous episode, “Healthy Headspace,” you heard me say a few things back in January 2019 that I no longer accept. Specifically, I claimed that critters can’t negotiate while in headspace. I was wrong. They can, they should, and they must do it carefully. We touch on those subjects a bit in this conversation. Mostly we emphasize ways to prepare for a scene and phrase questions during. But there’s a lot more to talk about on that subject. In our next episode, I’ll interview Topher/Pup Otter about social situations in which negotiations are essential — and often overlooked. This group discussion makes a great introduction to what we’ll talk about next time.
33 minutes | a year ago
Reports of the death of this podcast are greatly exaggerated. Okay, maybe not greatly exaggerated, cuz it was touch-and-go for a bit there, but I digress. We’re back with Episode 2! While it’s not the content I expected to share, it’s the start of a conversation that’s necessary, all the same. This time, we discuss important safety considerations for pet play — ways to keep everyone healthy and sane while in headspace. At least, as sane as we can be. What Headspace is and Why It’s Important “What goes on inside those little critter brains of theirs?” Watching people engage in pet play — or doing it yourself — you might have noticed that pets think differently than their human counterparts. Their minds go elsewhere (into “headspace”, as we call it), and that means interaction, communication, and consent in headspace differ from their human-to-human equivalents. This episode shares a recorded talk from the Tampa Bay Leather & Kink Social from 05 Jan 2019. (No, that’s not a typo; yes, this is long overdue; yes, I’m a slacker.) In this brief talk, I scamper through the highlights of healthy headspace — things critters (and the humans who love them) should keep in mind when preparing for, engaging in, and recovering from pet play. We discuss public moshes, private at-home play, and anything in-between, and the talk is species-inclusive, addressing how different critters have slightly different needs. Regardless of the critter or the scene, healthy headspace revolves around care and compassion, so put on your empathy caps and join us as we sniff our way through the cares and cautions of the otherwise carefree part of pet play! Some Housekeeping/Disclaimers Because I gave this talk in an outdoor venue (the patio of a bar, no less), the audio quality doesn’t sound like a normal interview. When an audience member asks a question, the volume drops considerably. But don’t worry, I repeat every question to make sure you (and those at the bar) can hear. If you want to follow along more carefully or add to the discussion, you can view and comment on my notes from the talk. I should also note that my thinking on some points has changed since I gave this talk. Most significantly, you’ll hear me claim in this recording that critters cannot negotiate once a scene begins. I no longer accept that claim and will re-visit that topic for further discussion in a future episode. (tl;dr: Critters can negotiate, but only to a point. Many pet-play enthusiasts should negotiate more than they typically do.)
30 minutes | 2 years ago
Community Building in Puppy Play
What puppy communities are you involved in? How did you find your way to them—who helped point you in the right direction? What have you done to help build community or welcome other pups into it? In this episode, we hear from Chicago’s Pup Scout and his thoughts on building, shaping, and preserving community. He has advice to share and experience to draw on. He talks about the importance of community-building: “Without our communities, we’re just a bunch of people who dress up like dogs.” *GASP!* We hear a bit about the history of the Chicago Puppy Patrol, an overview of the kinds of events that make the puppy community in Chicago so robust. As we discuss, larger cities have larger puppy communities, but there are specific things we can keep in mind when building our local PAH groups. Then Scout and I bark a bit about common problems faced by pups trying to find a place within a group. Things to keep in mind include age limitations, space restrictions, and safe spaces for headspace. Many puppy events take place in bars, but that might not be the best solution for everyone. Where in your city can puppies go to play or socialize? That all gives us lots to think about. So grab a chew toy (and maybe find a lap), perk up your ears, and let’s hear from Scout!
1 minutes | 3 years ago
Introducing The Dog Dish
Arf! Here’s something new to wrap your ears around: A paw’d-cast all about human puppy play! Introducing The Dog Dish. It’s kind of like a water cooler, but, you know, sort of lower to the ground and a bit sloppier—just like we like it. Our first episode is coming soon, so here’s a quick tease to get you salivating…or at least to get your ears perked up. Be sure to subscribe in your favorite podcasting service, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr to make sure you fetch each new episode as it’s let off the leash. Can’t wait! Meanwhile, if you know of a topic or a guest you’d like to hear about, bark at us! We’d love to hear your suggestions. So far, we’re planning episodes on names, gender, community, titles, gear, hierarchy, and a whole lot more. Whatever your interests in human-puppy play are, we want to talk about it so others can learn! Awroooo!
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