A puppy, in the BDSM community, is a human who role-plays a dog in scenes that are referred to as puppy play. Puppies can be any gender, but the role tends to be taken on by submissive people, while their dominants take on the role of puppy master or trainer. Puppy play likely emerged in the gay community and is still most often practiced by men, but it has expanded beyond this group as well. It is believed to have arisen out of the Old Guard leather scene.
Puppies even have their own puppy Pride flag, which consists of a red dog bone on a blue, black and white striped background.
Puppies enjoy shedding their human inhibitions, forgetting about the stresses of day-to-day life and embracing their animal side. Puppy play may involve sex, but many people just enjoy or get off on the dynamic itself. Behaving as a puppy provides a more spontaneous existence and allows people to live in the moment, just like dogs do.
It is difficult to assess how popular puppy play is. In his book "Tell Me What You Want," Dr. Justin Lemiller surveyed 4,000 adults and found that one in 10 had fantasies about dressing up as an animal to have sex. In 2015, several articles noted the rise of the puppy community in several cities, including Seattle, San Francisco and New York.
A puppy is also sometimes called a human puppy.