This is the collaring system I was trained to use and still use it today. Boo currently wears a Formal Collar. While wearing a collar you got for yourself in the puppy community is widely accepted, being collared by someone is something serious that should not be rushed into or taken lightly. While this is the traditional Old Guard style of collaring in a D/s relationship, a lot can be used in puppy and the seriousness and commitment should always be there in any collaring.
COLLAR OF CONSIDERATION
Collaring is the term commonly used by those in the D/s community to describe the commencement of a relationship between a Dominant and a submissive. It carries the same type of weight that a marriage ring does in it's final stage and denotes the same depth of commitment. In recent times (since the advent of the Internet) we have seen a bastardizing of this ritual into something casual and transient. This attack on long standing traditions should be actively fought by educating those entering the lifestyle.
First I want to state clearly that in my opinion collaring is done only in real life, between live people, ceremonially, joyously and celebrated. One does not get married online or on the phone and one does not collar online or on the phone.
The first collar offered is called the 'Collar of Consideration'. This identification comes from the Old Guard Leather community, the same source of the Safe, Sane and Consensual code. This Collar is traditionally given at the very beginning of a potential relationship. There are many variations on how a collar may be represented in actuality. It can be by a bracelet, waist chain, anklet or other choice. This is sometimes determined by the situation of the submissive such as job requirements etc. Sometimes it is dictated by the Dominant's personal taste. The traditional or customary representation of the 'Collar of Consideration' is a leather collar in some shade of blue. The actual shade of color is not as important as the color itself.
The Dominant by offering this collar to the submissive is expressing an interest in pursuing a potential furthering of a relationship with that submissive beyond the range of a casual acquaintance or even the relationship between a Top and bottom. This collar is offered seriously and with intent. The submissive in accepting this collar from the Dominant is equally serious in their understanding that their relationship has moved into a different stage. The existence of the Collar of Consideration indicates to other Dominants and submissives that the Dominant and submissive are forming a potentially serious relationship. It's existence acts to openly present to other Dominant's that this submissive is 'off-limits' for the duration of the 'consideration' period and that honorable Dominant's should not pursue this submissive in any manner.
It is understood that new relationships are fragile and vulnerable to both parties involved. Respect for new relationships is shown by adhering to the presence of collars and their underlying meanings. The 'Collar of Consideration' does not indicate a lifelong commitment between the Dominant and submissive but might be better considered to be similar to a pre-engagement ring.
Should either Dominant or submissive decide after a period of time that the relationship or connection is not to their desire then either may politely withdraw from the offer or the acceptance with "no fault" to either side. If a submissive is uncollared then it is considered important for that submissive to physically remove the collar and place it within the hands of the Dominant personally. If extensive attempts have been made to do so unsuccessfully then and only then should the submissive retain the collar. In other words the collar is the property of the Dominant. It should be purchased, acquired or made by the Dominant, for the Dominant. Upon the severance of the relationship it should be rightfully returned to it's owner. Objects given as gifts to the submissive should be clearly defined as becoming the submissives property and not expected to be returned should the relationship end. To keep the collar is considered to be extremely disrespectful.
For any Dominant to 'actively' approach a collared submissive is considered an extreme breach of protocol and it should be noted that such action can have serious negative impact on that Dominant's real life reputation. The traditions of our community should be given the same honor, dignity and respect of any other. Those that actively diminish or devalue what is precious to us should be aware that such diminishment identifies you as being external to our community or a parasite upon it. If you are one of those then perhaps you should return to your sorry world where honor is nonexistent, honesty impossible to find and trust is just a word in the dictionary.
The Training Collar represents the second collar exchanged between a Dominant and a submissive. For information regarding the first collar please refer to my article called the Collar of Consideration. The 'Training' collar is offered by the Dominant after they have engaged in a period of time where they have held extensive conversations with the submissive and explored characteristics, traits, interests, desires and lifestyles to see if they consider themselves to be a good match in enough areas to move into a relationship of deeper commitment. They will generally have engaged in many of the vanilla aspects of the relationship as well as commenced with some light sceneing to explore the beginning limits that the submissive may possess.
The traditional Training collar is often made of leather. It is generally very plain and may be either red or black. Many Dominants alternatively offer a training collar in chain. This is based on personal preference, requirements dictated by issue's in the submissive's life and other factors shared between the Dominant and the submissive. The acceptance of this collar by the submissive indicates that the submissive agrees to pursue a much deeper relationship with the Dominant which will involve or may, serious feelings, emotions, commitments and responsibilities. It can be equated fairly well to an engagement ring. When a relationship reaches the stage where a Training Collar is offered it tells other Dominants and submissives that the Dominant and submissive have grown much more serious and that they are actively bonding and attaching to each other with considerations of a potentially long term full time relationship. At this point the actions of the submissive are reflected upon the Dominant and the submissive should become acutely aware that behaving in a manner becoming to the training of their Dominant is a reflection of their personal devotion and commitment to that Dominant.
When a Dominant reaches this stage with a submissive they will often move into areas of training and discipline which are much more severe and strict. The foundations of later interactions are often based on how well the Dominant and the submissive construct or shape their relationship at this stage. Both recognize that they are a reflection of each other or openly connected to each other and will actively work to make that representation solid and deep. Most Dominants and submissives enter deeper emotional stages at this point and may begin to express true devotion, love, honor and mutual respect. In many ways this is where the relationship is truly tested physically, mentally and emotionally.
In many cases the Dominant and submissive may consider or try living together actively. The exploration of in-scene elements will generally intensify as they get to know each other better and the depth of trust begins to grow. It is at this stage that adaptation problems generally occur the most. The newlywed stage is over and in many cases people tend to express themselves in a more open fashion. It is at this point that many submissives find themselves 'acting-out' against their Dominant as they attempt to reconcile the internal conflicts of true commitment and submission. A Dominant in this stage can struggle with feelings of resentment, excessive responsibility and a reduction in personal freedom, primarily as it relates to the open exploration of other people. This is a natural shifting from non-commitment to commitment. Both will find that they may test their partner strenuously to see if their partner's commitment is solid and strong. There is always an element of fear in the creation of relationships and insecurities and doubts. Facing these and overcoming them is necessary before the Dominant and submissive can even consider taking their relationship the final steps toward a full collar, often identified as a 'Slave Collar'.
Each of the collars is generally presented during some type of formal ceremony. Often the 'Collar of Consideration' and the 'Training Collar' may be presented privately or during a small gathering of close friends. The actions of collaring are considered quite serious and most often great care is taken to make the moments memorable for both people. Many Dominant's and submissive's exchange vows or poems they have created during such ceremonial occasions.
The Formal Collar is the representation of the final stage of commitment between the Dominant and submissive. This collar is offered after the Dominant and submissive have progressed through the 'Collar of Consideration' and the 'Training Collar'. To read more on these prior collars and stages please refer to the articles titled "Collar of Consideration" and "Training Collar'. All three of these collars are given in real life, between live persons actively interacting in or forming serious BDSM relationships. In recent years we have seen the creation of what I can only call the 'cyber collar'. This creation attempts to mimic the real life collar but tends to be exchanged between those who are primarily BDSM cyber fetishers. It is my personal opinion that cyber collars are made of pixel dust, fantasies and illusions. In addition, those using and exchanging these imaginary collars tend to appear and vanish like shadows in the mist, lacking the primary reality and substance that is so much a part of the BDSM world. The presence of the cyber collar and it's apparent implications for those newly exploring the lifestyle tend to diminish what is a serious exchange in the real world. If you are a new Dominant or submissive, recognize that the Internet is a tool which augments and gives you access into a real world. If you wish to remain cyber that is your free choice but try to respect the world that you mimic.
The Formal Collar is offered by the Dominant with the intent to formalize the bond and attachment between themselves and their submissive. It is a recognition of commitment, deep emotional feelings, devotion, mutual respect and consideration. It expresses a belief that the Dominant and submissive share similar ideals and a genuine and growing desire to share each other's lives over perhaps the rest of their lives. With many couples this collar is given in conjunction with a proposal of marriage. It's weight within the community is equivocal to the wedding ring. The acceptance of this collar by the submissive is an open, voluntary offering of their complete submission to the Dominant from that day forward.
The traditional appearance of the Slave Collar is a collar made of black leather or metal which is adorned by brass or silver objects or designs. This collar is created specifically for the individual submissive and is often an original design. The presentation of this collar often involves a joyous celebration including an exchange of vows, benediction by a minister, the singing of a mutually admired song etc. Many couples write their own poetry, vows and promises to each other which are exchanged publicly as they dedicate themselves to each other. In addition, many people choose to engage in the placement of permanent body markings upon the submissive at this time.
This can be via tattoo's, piercings, brandings, cuttings etc. Some ceremonies will include a carefully designed public scene so that the guests can visually enjoy and participate in this union and bond by watching the permanent marking in its application. This is a serious decision by both people often arrived at after years of searching and in many cases after living together for a long period of time to make sure that their choice is sound.
At this stage in the collaring process often the Dominant and submissive feel the same deep love that any vanilla couple might feel coupled to the trust, respect and commitment so crucial in the D/s lifestyle. To be invited to attend a D/s Formal Collaring is similar to being invited to a wedding. A gift is appropriate, attire as specified in the invitation should be followed and protocol should be observed regarding the manner in which other members of the community are addressed. If you are invited to a collaring but are not very familiar with the participants then be polite, courteous and respectful. Remember that different areas of the country and different groups have different rules of protocol. If you do not know them, politely ask. If there is a public scene then standard open dungeon rules generally apply, this is soft conversation when necessary, never touch another person, Do not interrupt a scene with questions or commentary, wear dark clothing and be unobtrusive during the commencement of the scene.
Remember that some scenes can place the submissive at risk in unique ways. An example of this is a scene involving fire play. During such a scene a sudden draft such as the opening of a door or window can make the flames flare in a sudden and extremely dangerous fashion. Do not leave your position of observation, open doors, windows, turn on fans, lights, music or anything else without the prior consent of the Dominant, Dungeon Master/Mistress or person in charge of scene management. Wait until the completion of a scene to address the Dominant. It is often considered proper to congratulate the submissive independent of the Dominant after such a collaring after you have congratulated the Dominant. If you are in doubt as to this protocol then take the opportunity to ask the Dominant when you are congratulating them if it is permissible to congratulate their submissive.
Remember that if the submissive has just scened, been pierced, branded or tattooed they may and probably will be in subspace. Be gentle, friendly and kind and forgive them if they are wobbly, spacey and a bit out of it . By the way - the Dominant may be a bit shaken too, so a good hug or two is generally not unwelcome (this depends on the temperament of the Dominant of course!)
Often an open play party commences after such events. Do not drink if alcohol has been present if you intend to scene later. A final note - in many cases the Formal Collaring is recorded on videotape and in snapshots. If you are concerned about being in these shots choose seats outside the ones closest to the event. In most cases the photographers try very hard to capture just those officiating and personally involved but if it is a concern of yours then take the steps necessary yourself without disturbing the ceremony in any way.
Original post found at https://www.facebook.com/groups/puppy101/permalink/1166501223471700/