I started this article thinking that it would be about pack dynamics. After I spoke to many, many packs about their different dynamics and the roles they play, what I can say is that each pack’s dynamic is complex and unique. Sometimes you even need a flow chart to figure it out. Let’s face it, puppies are not simple, and I do not mean that in a bad way. So why would the dynamics be any easier. Instead I want to focus on how a Handler fits into pack dynamics.
Whether you are a Dominant, submissive or switch, a Handlers role in a pack is to be the Dominant or referee of that pack. An Alpha to Handler dynamic is different from a Handler to a beta dynamic, which is different from a Handler to an omega dynamic. Alphas have a similar mentality to us in the ability to lead and watch over the pack. As a Handler I give betas more guidance, but they’re still okay on their own. I tend to give more direction to omegas, and they are okay in that submissive role. When you add service pups and guard dogs to the mix the dynamic becomes more complex. Since the service pups are always looking out for the well-being of their pack its important that we make sure that their needs are being met. The guard dogs are the protectors of the pack and they will have your back in guarding your pups.
Hierarchy’s in packs aren’t necessarily cut and dry. To help avoid confusion roles should be discussed before joing a poly-pack. This is why dynamics very greatly from pack to pack. It can be confusing from the outside. A beta can be an Alpha to someone outside of the pack, but the beta understands the role he is playing in his pack. Sometimes Alphas will be Handlers if needed, but most Alphas I know would rather not be Handlers. Sometimes you just need a family tree to try to understand each dynamic. Within this fluidity, I see the need for structure in my pack.
In a structured pack there can be several roles. At the top of the food chain is the Sir/Handler/Trainer. Pups look up to you for guidance, support, and direction. You are the authority figure of the pack; keeping an ever vigilant watch over the pups you so proudly have. We are there to take care of them: Alpha, beta, omega, service, and guard. We keep them in line, take care of and support each one. Our role is to allow them to be a pup. To help them let out that pup side. You also rely on your pack for support and enjoy their love. The role we play as a Handler must go farther than just the pups in your pack. Handlers are a role model not only to their packs but within the community at large.
I enjoy being apart of the pup community because we understand that there is unity in diversity. You can be a part of multiple packs and have multiple Handlers, Sirs, Alphas, betas, omegas, boyfriends, husbands, and non-kinky relationships. Some would argue that organisations like the Chicago Puppy Patrol or the local PAH (Pups and Handlers) are packs, and I couldn’t agree more as some packs are purely a social thing.
With my pack it is largely about strong connections and training. Though my pups are not all in the same area as me we communicate daily with text, video, and conversations. This is how we build and maintain the dynamics within our pack.