“Looking for a handler” can be such a simply deceptive message. Do you know what kind of handler you want? Do you know what u want out of the dynamic?
An Authoritarian handler is someone with a mind-set of “you must do what I say”. These kind of people could be considered to be inspired by the old-guard style of the leather community. If you enjoy rules, structure and discipline as a pup then this kind of handler would be best suited to your style of pup play.
These types of handlers are a mixture of the two extremes, these handlers are strong leaders but also allow pups to express themselves of their inner pup, giving direction and advice when necessary but also not suffocating them with the handler’s specific desire of pup play style. This allows the handler to be a guide to allow the pup to express and explore their own pup identity, while building the trust between them and the handler that the handler is giving them a strong guiding hand in personal growth.
Being a Handler from a distance, minimal rules and maximum freedom; these are the main aspects of a passive handler, someone to have to have a sense of belonging and inner identity inside the community, without having the extreme levels of commitment an Authoritarian handler may have.
Here are some attributes that pups have discussed with me that they have seen in handlers in the community. This isn’t exhaustive or perfect and in no way directed at a single person. Everyone’s personalities are different and these lists are merely here to help explain and inspire people to seek what they find compatible with themselves.
Be careful of elitist tendencies in handlers, there is as many styles of pup play as there is breeds of bio dogs and elitists do tend to be “my way is the ‘right’ way” and look down on others because of it, which is a shame when we are all one big puppy family.
An inspirational handler is an active handler but one that is happy to stand on the side-lines cheering a pup to achieve his or her true inner pup. One that gives suggestions and ideas and only seriously intervenes if the pup is going to get hurt physically or emotionally.
An instructional handler is someone with a plan. Someone that either him/herself or someone that has sat down with their pup and made a plan to make things a win-win for both. So you can both feed off each other’s strengths or to make the pups or the handlers ambitions a reality.
Want to just wrap your arms around every puppy and keep them safe from the big world? Nothing is wrong with that with a compatible puppy. Be a handler that wants to know what their puppies are doing during the day and provide a safe space for the pups to express and be themselves are the cornerstones of a protective handler.
What Kind of Handler Do You Want to Be?
This is not an exhaustive list, but a descriptive one to showcase some of the many styles and mixtures of styles of pup play. You do not have to categorise anyone to any specific style and neither of yourself. You may see a pattern that you want to aspire to and that’s great! Work hard for it and enjoy the journey along the way.
Respect Makes the World Go Round!
While I’m sure out there in the community are pups and handlers are total opposites, guess what, so is a Chihuahua and a Great Dane. But we all love them nonetheless. There is no reason for the community to have barriers and for anyone to be or feel ostracised. If you don’t like what someone is doing, step away and do your own thing and find others who think and treat others the same way you want to be treated. Remember, Drama is a choice, you don’t have to be dramatic, no one is forcing your free will to throw a puppy tantrum.
I hope this helps fellow pups out there find what kind of handler they are looking for that’s compatible for them and find some questions to ask their prospective handlers.