I recently did a play session, and it became very intense for both myself and the pup. After play was done I started some of my aftercare routine for my pup: giving them skritches, cuddling, and talking to them on the same level while giving them positive reinforcement. When it was all done, the pup wanted to do part of their personal aftercare and I had to leave shortly. I was still thinking as a handler on my way out, making sure my pup was okay, and not thinking about myself.
What was easy for me to forget about was my own my aftercare. I didn’t think of it or even realize how intense the play was for me until I got home, that’s where I started to come down and fell back to reality. I began to feel some guilt and loneliness which I learned is commonly referred to as Do
m drop/Top guilt an issue that is not brought up enough within our community. Whatever you call it, it can be emotionally draining, and can cause some serious issues without proper care.
Now for some, no handler aftercare is needed and that is just fine. If they don’t want any aftercare, then there is no need for them to bring it up. In this case I needed that some additional after care. At the time, I did not know how I would come down, so how was my pup supposed to know. I usually get some of my aftercare when I am cuddling and holding my pup during their aftercare, but I am still thinking about making sure they are okay so I am still in my handler role. It’s usually about my pup until they are gone. Handler aftercare is sometimes easily forgotten about by both pups and handlers. Far too often as Handlers we don’t ask the questions: am I okay? How do I feel? Is there anything I need?
As Handlers all we have to do is ask for aftercare. I would even ask if you don’t think you will need it, because sometimes just knowing it is there might be enough. Everyone’s aftercare needs are different. Pups want different things and we accommodate to the best of our ability. I don’t think it is showing weakness to ask, in fact, I think it shows strength. I think that, that puppy who you just made happy, would love to make you feel just as loved and cared for if you ask.
I believe there is a subtle difference between the master/slave dynamic and the pup/Handler dynamic. Some Doms/Sirs/Masters think that asking aftercare is a sign of weakness. I believe that to be quite the opposite of how it is in the pup community. More than likely if it’s a pup, I am sure they love you just the same and want to make you happy. As Handlers we allow them to be who they want to be, and one of their ways of expressing thanks is through puppy love. I am sure they would be down for more cuddles or to be there for you for whatever you need.
Pups, don’t be afraid to check up on your Handlers after. It doesn’t hurt, and y
ou might get “im okay” as the answer; that is perfectly fine, but your handler knows that they are cared for and that feels good. I am sure any handler would appreciate a phone call or extra cuddles. Some things that pups should keep in mind.
Check up on your handler if the scene went wrong, because they might feel bad about something they did. Whatever may happen you have not failed as the pup or done anything wrong. Your handler just may need a little aftercare.
"You are responsible for your own happiness. You have to make sure you get what YOU need!" - Papa Woof Roth (Founder of Puppy 101, Midwest Puppy & C0-Owner of IPC)