Updated: SEPTEMBER 22, 2022
Reviewed by Kinkly Staff
on September 21, 2022

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.

More About Puppy

Many puppies live as a specific breed and personality of dog. A gentle, loving puppy might identify and role-play as a golden retriever, for example. Puppies may also go by a puppy name as part of their puppy persona. It is a lifestyle that provides plenty of positive reinforcement and attention through verbal praise and pats. Many in the community also have a puppy "pack" of friends with whom they may play in a club or other social setting.

Puppies tend to have an owner or master, who will tell them what to do, walk them on a leash and provide affection or admonishment as needed. In other words, the puppy and its owner are playing out a similar dynamic to many other dominant/submissive relationships. Those who practice puppy play also enjoy the puppy headspace - or "pup space" - which some have described as primal.

Puppy play often involves some gear, much of which as the flavor of other BDSM gear but with a puppy flair. This includes collars, harnesses, leashes and leather puppy masks. Butt plug puppy tails are also not uncommon.

Puppies take on the personas of dogs to varying degrees. Some puppies live as dogs all the time while others only role play part-time. Some are happy to talk while in character while others will only growl and bark. Some walk on two legs while others will only get around on all fours.


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