There are those of us in this wide world who, for one reason or another, identify with animals. For some it's ponies, others pigs, and of course there's always dogs. In my case, well, I'm a dog.
For each of us, somewhere down in there there's an animal. It's the thing you were before you learned who you are -- the parts of you that had communication before language, interaction before expectations, and contact before you learned how to manipulate your reality. The animal within is the thing that existed prior to your preconceptions about people, the world, or your self. It is this animal, to some extent the 'id' in the Jungian or transpersonal sense, that some of us identify with real world animals. This binding of the inner beast with the nature and symbolism of another animal can produce a truly powerful means of expression and an entirely different way of experiencing. The inherent simplicity, the "is-ness" of any scenario, from domestic life to intense SM play, is something that defies verbal description. Communication and interaction tend to be more direct and up front. Words like "pain" and "pleasure" begin to lose their internalised meanings as one loses his ability to use human language, thus direct experience without interpretation tends to become the order of the day.
For some, simply "being treated like an animal" is the point. The slave who eats from a bowl on the floor, sleeps at the foot of the bed, is leashed & collared and forced to experience the inherent humiliation of being treated like an animal for his Master's pleasure -- this is a reasonable example, depending on the context. This is not, however, what I'd like to cover here.
Some, myself included, are more interested in fully identifying with the animal - being the animal, a human dog in this case. A human dog could be defined as a person who has adopted the characteristics, identity,
behaviour, and so on of a real to dog to whatever extent possible within the constraints of what their mind and body will allow. The ultimate scenario would be that of a person in "dog mind" all of the time, something which probably occurs infrequently. This interpretation of dog training could to some extent be described as a given path or practice within the context of BD/SM as opposed to a scene.
In order for a boy to really achieve the depth and scope of a good dog mind, he needs to know his place. If you truly want your boy to be the animal that he is, then you need to give him a proper frame of reference. I'll go into more detail in the later sections, but here are some of the more basic points for prospective masters/owners/trainers to ponder:
The dog must remain on all fours. After all, a dog's dominion is the floor, right? Keeping him on all fours in crucial to the psychology of the thing. Putting him there should be no problem, he may even be eager to do it. As time goes by, keeping him there can become another story. At some point the animal is probably going to get tired of walking about on all fours, or bored, or he may be just plain rebellious. It's during these moments that you have to react immediately then floor him and punish him to reinforce his position. Restraints can also be of good use here.
The dog may not use human speech. When was the last time you heard a dog say something in any human language? This is perhaps the most powerful tool that can be used in building up the dog psychology in your boy's head. Dogs communicate in barks, woofs, yips, and whimpers. Along with body language, these vocalizations should give your boy a more than adequate range of expression to get his point across. With time and practice he will learn to tune the depth, pitch, and other factors surrounding his vocalizations so that he can make them even more highly communicative. Help him refine his technique by punishing anything even vaguely human that passes his lips. Also, the less a boy thinks in any given language, the more readily and easily the animal mentality can grow.
For those who want to add some true depth to the experience of being a dog, teach your boy to avoid thinking in pronouns. Pronouns are the great separators of language, they create an artificial barrier between a person and their world. Without using "he" "me" "I" and the rest in the internal dialogue, a person slowly but surely begins to drop their internal barriers and starts to fully appreciate contact and experience. Doing this little Zen bit will eventually lead to a state of raw and total awareness and non conceptual thinking -- the state your
favourite animals are in their entire lives.
Dogs don't use furniture. Except in the case of a doggie bed, I've never met a canine who had furniture, or a pet owner who willingly let their dog onto the furniture. A dog should live on the floor day and night unless for some reason he has special permission from his master. Attempts to crawl up on the couch should be rewarded with a sharp swat on the rump and a loud "NO", or other suitable punishment. If you choose to let the animal sleep on your bed, put him at the foot where he belongs and make him show thanks by gently cleaning your feet with his tongue as you drift off to sleep.
Dogs don't understand the toilet. This one is not a hard and fast rule, as not all pets or their owners can handle it. Still, when was the last time you saw a dog use the facilities? At the minimum your pet should be forced to raise one leg over the tub or bowl to pee. In addition, you may wish to teach him to squat over the bowl so that he may carry out his other duties. In a more in depth scenario, you may choose to paper train your dog instead, taking into account that you may not always be available to walk him. If you have the space for a secluded outdoor kennel, then all he needs is to pick a corner. If your geography and level of privacy allow, you should probably attempt to walk him often enough to avoid al of this, if it suits you.
There are certain inherent differences in the physiological functioning of humans when compared to dogs. The first that comes to mind is also the most basic, being posture. Dogs are designed to walk on all fours, humans aren't. The good news here is that they can get good at it, even to the point of developing poise and a certain degree of grace on the floor. The bad news is that this kind of poise also tends to fade rapidly when not practiced. Some pointers to keep in mind are that, although "hands & knees" seems more appropriate, and initially more comfortable, it isn't. For restive moments and light play being on hands and knees is fine, but for good walks, running, romping, frolicking, and a host of other doggie style
behaviours it puts an undue strain on the musculature and connective tissues as well as the spine. Dogs walk
digit grade, that is, on their toes. From the practical standpoint this is the best way for a human dog to move about, particularly when performing fuller movements. Being on the hands and toes can be very strenuous until the dog gets used to it, but as the muscles in the legs adapt it becomes much more relaxed and fluid than it is in the very beginning. It also becomes much easier over time to directly replicate a host of other canine
behaviours from this position as opposed to approximating them from a hands and knees stance. A good example here is that pelvic motion is much less limited with the knees off the floor, adding to a fuller and more realistic wag of the tail and humping motion from the pup.
Another point to remember is that the shoulders and hips of a dog are hinged entirely differently than humans. You'll notice that a biological dog's head rests easily on the floor when laying on its side. For human dogs laying on the side places the head on the top edge of the shoulder, bending the spine -- not good for sleeping.. This can cause big problems over time, but there is a simple remedy. Although biological dogs don't use pillows, human dogs to some extent need them. To a certain degree it is an aesthetic concession in a scene, but if you value your dogs health and ability to perform you'll give him one at bedtime. For those of you who really hate the idea there are alternatives -- for example, a soft canvas sack stuffed with old socks and various other funky items makes a nice dog pillow.
In addition to a pillow, a human dog does need a bed -- at least some of the time. Unfortunately, the structure of the human anatomy is not conducive to sleeping on the side or all curled up on a hard surface. Over time a human dog can begin to experience cramping, extremely tight muscles, atrophy of certain connective structures, and some of the milder forms of arthritis -- not good if you want a healthy pet. Any kind of large puppy pad, an old blanket folded in the corner, or even an extra large dog bed (available at most chain pet stores) will do nicely. You also might like to let him up on the bed every now and again when he's been exceptionally good.
Last, but perhaps most important, is flexibility. Dogs are designed to carry out a certain range of motions, some of which humans cannot directly match. How many men have you met that could lick their own nuts? If you want a dog who has a more than ample range of flexibility for most tasks, the teach him to stretch when he rises. It's easy, and dogs do it almost every time the stand up. Starting from a hands and knees position, with the toes on the floor, the dog should slowly raise his rump in the air while straightening his arms, back, and legs. Done correctly, the dog winds up looking like an inverted "V" for a moment. This will gently stretch the back, pelvic muscles, and hamstrings -- three critical areas in the scheme of a human dog's health. Need I mention the fact that this is a very basic dog
Now for those of you with even higher aspirations here's the scoop on licking those nuts, as well as using the rear legs to scratch behind the ears. Yes, it can be done. No, it is NOT easy to become flexible enough to do this, let alone maintaining it, but it is possible. My immediate suggestion to any dog seeking to add this to his stable of abilities or any master looking to get the best from his pet is to forget it unless you've got the time, patience, and commitment to pull it off. The process is slow, tedious, moderately risky, and requires daily maintenance. It involves full body flexibility, focused on the back, pelvis, and legs. If you choose to follow through, then focus your attention first on the legs, particularly the hamstrings. As you progress, involve the pelvic region and hips more and more in your routine. Finally add the back (particularly lower), taking care to stretch the opposing muscles across the front of the body in order to avoid damaging posture.
The first goal of the would-be dog slave is to learn to emulate the
behaviours of his canine cousin, and the absolute best way to learn what a dog does and why is through direct observation. The simple
behaviours range from walking on all fours to wagging the tail, but for purposes of realism and identity the more complex
behaviours are very desirable. Dogs use a fairly limited range of actions in the sense that many of them can be classified under one of several categories. In combination with body language and tone of voice the K9's range of communication becomes very well rounded and more than effective enough for communicating with humans under normal circumstances. The list below describes some basic
behaviours the prospective dog/dogslave needs to master:
- Dogs bark for many reasons, as a greeting, a warning, a threat, for attention, or even as a show of preference. The tone, volume, and body language during barking all come together to create a message for the humans or other dogs around. The critical thing in learning the body language aspect of barking is attention -- what is the animal focused on? Attention, posture, and tone generally combine to give humans a clue as to the meaning of a bark.
- Yapping sounds when the pup is in need of attention or when trying to draw attention to something in its environment, although sometimes they do it out of sheer excitement. Yapping can also be a sign that the animal wants to play when combined with the right posturing.
- Dogs will often whimper or whine when sad or distressed; for instance when hungry or being abused by their owners. Many dogs will whine at the door when in need of a walk.
- Growling is generally a sign of aggression, extreme dislike or distress, or forcefulness. Dogs may growl to express a negative preference, warn an owner of a negative thing in the environment, or to warn another animal that it is considered a threat.
- A dog's nose tells it a lot about the world and smell is one of its most important senses. An interested or curious pup will sniff at anything new, and frequently at whatever happens to be on his mind at the moment -- toys, spots to go to the bathroom, etc. When meeting new people, a dog will usually build a
catalogue of their scents by sniffing at their feet, crotch, ass, arm pits, and so on.
- Pups usually lick for out of affection or just because something tastes good. A lick at his Master's boots generally shows submission, while licking at his hand or face can portray gratefulness, excitement, affection, or a host of other things depending on the animal's posture and expression. Some licking
behaviours involve sexual instincts -- licking up spilled cum or cleaning one of his owner's toys, for example.
- A dog will wag its tail for many reasons, but the most common and universal is to show a range of happy emotions. A slow gentle wag can portray a content and relaxed pup, while a fast silly wag usually means excitement.
- A canine pawing at things usually wants something. Pawing the door means he probably wants to go out. When pawing the toys, he may want to play. When pawing his owner's leg with an accompanying soft whimper, he's probably feeling amorous.
Dogs, like all pack or family oriented animals, have a range of
behaviours for establishing a hierarchy of dominance and submission with those they encounter. A submissive dog will generally look down and carry out its sniffing and licking in a gentle, cautious fashion. Rolling onto its back and showing its neck and belly are an abject show of submission for nearly all canines, and submissive whimpering is also common in these scenarios. A more dominant dog will act more confident and perhaps even aggressive when "sizing up" another creature, be it human or animal. It will level its gaze, perhaps growling as a show of power. More dominant animals are harder to get on their backs, but when they are they tend to enjoy it if the company is right and the scratching is good. Dominant dogs will stand forward with their tail up and ears back, eyes level and gaze unwavering. Submissive dogs will stand or sit with their tail low, eyes averted, and ears down. Cowering, which is common when a dog knows it has done something wrong, is a classic example of submissive
In training a dog to behave properly, certain points of protocol must be kept in mind. In a public environment (bar, club, country lane) the animal should be taught to heel at its Master's left side when walking, and either next to his left leg or between his legs when resting. A normal dog will range around collecting the scents of man and beast alike with his nose when he's brought into a new environment. This is normal and expected, but the animal must always be available to its owner by and responsive when called to "come" or "heel". It is also likely that a dog will play and interact with any other animals that may be about -- this is it's normal instinct, interrupted only by its Master's command.
The primary goal of all animal training is
behaviour modification. The techniques used to accomplish this end are many and varied, and a more detailed discussion of them will appear in the next section. The underlying goal of
behaviour modification is simple: to modify the animal's innate and automatic
behaviours in such a way as to cause a permanent change in its response to certain stimuli. The most basic example is when a dog automatically and instantly sits when his owner says "SIT". In a well trained animal the reaction to a command or stimulus is completely instinctive and without thought. A good trainer or handler will apply consistency and simplicity to all of his training sessions. Don't try and have a conversation with your animal, it's not designed for English. Instead, consistently use simple devices such as one word commands in all of your sessions and you will meet with a much better result.
Training procedures are carried out using a very basic principle of animal conditioning -- the association of pleasure and pain. An owner's primary and underlying task in training the human dog is to associate massive amounts of pleasure to desired
behaviours like obeying a command, and an adequate amount of pain to undesirable
behaviours like peeing on the rug. The type and intensity of each aspect -- pleasure or pain -- is up to the trainer and should be tailored to suit the circumstances. In sessions where I have trained basic
behaviours into a human animal, climbing on the bed has earned a few sound raps on the ass or balls with a rolled newspaper. Direct disobedience has resulted in a good beating coupled with longer term punishment, like attaching the chain between a pair of tit clamps to the collar and then holding the leash (connected at the other side of the collar) taught when it is being walked around.
In its simplest form, dog training requires a few basic tools. A collar, for purposes of expressing or enforcing control of the animal, and a leash for the same reasons. A punishment device, such as a crop or rolled up paper is also essential. A method of reward, from a scratch on the head to a biscuit, completes the package. Other tools and toys can definitely add something to the arrangement when used properly, but are not required.