Primal Fetish vs Dog Training.
k9, dog training, pup play. These are all terms quite known in the BDSM – Fetish community (more in the second one, actually). But in the past, it used to be something quite narrowed down to a selected nieche inside the vaste world of fetishes, which referred to dog training and primal fetish. It is a pretty common practice that Masters like to objectify their subs and slaves, and sometimes make them behave like animals or like they are a different age (diapers, anyone..?). Staying on all fours, moving and barking like dogs, peeing with a leg lifted, eating from a bowl, licking hands and feets, playing ball… and so on. Though this kind of “play” is pretty commonly intended as a temporary game, which stands in the fields of consensual humiliationplay, control, “Mastering” in general. As with everything, Dog Training can be something limited to a session, or ti can be a real vocation of a sub. It’s at the Master’s discretion and wisdom to understand what kind of subject he is training.
Lately the commercialization of fetish (AKA: the killing of all meanings, supported by the thoughtless homologation of fetishes based on “that’s hot because everyone else is doing it” instead of “this is my thing and I want to be my true self sexually”) has bumped up the “pup play” topic.
There is also an interesting article by Vice that you can read here that shows how “young gay people” live this kind of game like a fun and not so committing way to explore a little bit o kink, “just because”. The same goes for wearing a harness during a party, or a jockstrap in a Disco. So a few years ago finding “Dog Training gear” was pretty difficult, as much as it was difficult finding people really into understanding what it is all about. Each shop had one or two dog masks models, a few rubber mittens, some tail plugs maybe, but it have always been some kind of a little (not so commercial worthy) space in the fetish society. Now the thing has sparked up, soared into the sky of randomness, and every kid wants to be a pup and play about it.
But there is not just those who want some “let’s take it easy, it’s all a game”; there is actually a whole community of people that feel and behave like animals each time that they can. There is also a huge variety of facets of this kind of kink and interest, and sometimes it is purely non sexual, at least in it’s society-like presentation. For some people is a very identifying and spiritual calling, with deep strong meaning to it.
Fetish is not all about games
Having said so, there is something very real and powerful in Dog Training, and not all the pups, dogs or Wolves out there are bored people trying to do something different. We can call these special people (often subs, rarely Doms) Primals or Ferals.
Being a Primal is about feeling that we are extremely close some kind of animal, and that we like to exploit this closeness by actually impersonating the animal itself (which is not about acting: it is about letting the human side to rest, and just be the animal that you feel you have inside of yourself). The Primal community is very wide and has extremely blurred edges. Some people like to dress up like animals, some other like to behave like animals, some other just like to spend time with those animals. Dogs, Cats, Pigs, Snakes, Dragons, Boars, Horses, Foxes, Wolves… and so on.
So let’s start with a general definition:
It starts from or it gets to a place where the feelings are primary – pure, raw, animal emotions, sensation and/or instinct. It could be fear, vulnerability, desire, grief, or any profound emotional state. I want to get to a place where words are gone– there may be grunting, growling, moaning, nonsense syllables crying or silence; maybe even all of above. “Primal” applies, as per Merriam Webster, in a way that’s raw, past rational thought, animalistic, instinctual. It’s pure, core, raw emotion without a lot of the sensibility and good training that gets layered over that.
If we start with the basic definition above, then we can think of primal play in the kink context as getting to a place where the masks of our civilized selves can fall away and we can act on our urges more directly, letting ourselves really play, give over to our feelings and impulses. These can be raw, rough sexual feelings, but they could also be joy, silliness, deep feelings of love and intimacy, feelings of deep tenderness, even sadness and grief. “Primal” doesn’t necessarily have to mean “rough”; it’s more a matter of being raw and unfiltered, whatever the feelings are.
Source: Dominant Guide
So, what is the closest being that behaves in this way? Animals, of course.
Again, you can see how this goes straight back to what I have written about what truly BDSM is: killing all the artificial society super structures, and going back to the basics of what we feel, who we are. Dominant, submissive, Big Bad Wolf, little kittens, guard dogs, executors, wild sluts, torturers, fathers and sons… . It is a very fascinating world once you get to know people who really know what they’re doing and what they’re into. And it can be quite scary or dangerous too. In a world were rules, words, contracts and society doesn’t exist anymore, what can be safe? Where can you go without being afraid of not coming back anymore, also emotionally speaking? That is exactly why there is the strong need of Discipline, Protocols, Strictness and Structure that Old Guard Leather teaches. These things are necessary because without them, BDSM wouldn’t be safe.
Now having said that, I will talk about me instead of the general social / psychological thing.
My Training as a Primal
When I was a kid, I think I was 11 or 12 years old, I always had this fantasy in my mind, this strong wish that I really strongly hoped would have one day come true. I felt that I was indeed a boy, but that I had also an animal inside of me. I dreamt that I was able to transform to a beast like magic, and wonder around the city during the night, coming back home in the early morning just in time to fit into my bed, go back to my human cub form, and being woken up by my parents. Of course I always knew this would not happen, but still if felt like the thing was there inside of me, real, pulsating like a mind blowing erection.
I was always fascinated by Wolves. Actually it was something much more than simple fascination. I remember I would watch tons of documentaries about Wolves, and the more I learned about them, the more I felt close to them. The way their social hierarchy is, the loyalty, the pride, the military way they are strategically organized for hunting, the family, the pack. Everything about Wolves spoke to me like it was calling deep inside of my guts. You can read more about this all in this article about “The Wolf Spirit”.
During my training years, I had the occasion to finally let the Wolf in me live, and it was one of the most formative experiences I could ever have had. Although it never was for very long times, and I have never lived in a full state of Wolf for more than a few hours and I have never been caged for days or similar fetish landscapes, I did a long and strong work of introspection with one of my Mentors, Angelo. He was the only person who really was able to let me gain enough self confidence and wisdom to let the Wolf live, and it was an incredible experience that gave me the tools and comprehension which are so important today as a Master.
The Beast inside
The Master I am is caring. I am a very self controlled and balanced person, I never get high or drunk when handling my boys (some times I get boozed if home alone, though 😉 ), I love listening to them, trying to be helpful, and I’m pretty keen to be more of father rather than a Boss. Although the Training days are over, The Wolf inside of me forever lives. It talks to my heart and my human mind makes the best out of it. At the time I used to let my animal out during my training years, people who have saw it described it as the following:
The Beast is merely sadist, cruel, craves blood, tears and fear. Lupus keeps that Beast in chains all the time, allowing it just a little bit of fun, stretching the size of the chains a bit every once in a while. He is always in control of that Beast, for if it takes over, it cannot be controlled anymore until it’s satisfied. The Beast is an extremely capable brainwasher, able to gain your trust and then use it all against you in benefit of its amusement. That’s what it does when it’s hunting . It gets to use all the informations about the prey that the human side gained trough talking, and uses those notions as strategical advantage to hunt the target. It deeply enjoys providing pain through its host with bare hands, whips, floggers, and all the sorts of items that can be used in this sense. The Beast can walk and use hands, sometimes also can talk. When extremely comfortable and calm, it will be on its all fours.
But that is just one side of it, the brutal side of nature. There is also something else down there. By all means he has a Wolf’s heart. Extremely loyal, caring with his owns, and his natural Dominant role is to teach, protect, guide and mentor them.
Many people into Dog Training or Pup Play (I hate this word so much) dress in rubber gear. Why is that? I can answer with my point of view from what I remember about the rubber days.
While I am a true leather lover, that worked well for my human side. Leather is still something you wear, and wearing garments is something extremely human (read more here about Leather). Wolves don’t need to wear anything else than their own skin and fur and claws. So why latex? I’m not a latex fetishist, but there is something uniquely different about it, when compared to leather.
Leather is something you wear. It can be an armor, it can be a shield, it can be shelter. Latex doesn’t cover you up really, you will still have all your senses. The cold, the heat, the scratching. Everything is right there. But still, latex will feel like a second skin. Being so adherent and tight fitting, it really feels like a new skin. This helps psychologically in leaving behind yourself your human side, your normal skin. It helps you build up the mood and emotion to get into the feeling of the being you want to bring up to life (and in fact this applies to animals but to drones and gimps as well). There is no distraction. You feel like you are in another dimension, and you actually really are (this can be extended to some degrees with sensorial deprivation, for which latex is a great tool).
Latex becomes something that brings your emotions out, instead of keeping them in. It’s something exposing you out instead of keeping you safe.
Another difference is that while leather is dry, stiff and has a strong scent, latex is wet (or at least should be kept wet and shiny with squishy silicone oil), it adapts to any movement of your body, and it makes your own smell stronger. You will sweat a lot inside of a latex suit, and you will ooze your smell and own juices everywhere. This is something latex fetishists usually like a lot.