DG: An issue I’m facing the lack of connection in areas. Pups who don’t know others in their areas and feel left out. Those that can’t attend pup events because they are bar or adult themed.
 
PR: It’s hard to get some to do things that aren’t bar events because they work days, even on the weekend. We do a monthly munch usually over lunch and get some good turn out. We even do some day trips, museum outings, zoo, City Museum. We also have some that complain they want this or that and then it’s planned and they don’t show up. Plan something you enjoy and put the invite out
 
DG: We started doing munches and headspace classes monthly here in New Orleans and it caught on in other cities in the state.
 
EC: Bars annoy me and I’m well past legal drinking age. Pup hoods muffle voices, and then you have a bar with its loud-as-hell music that I can barely hear over anyways. Munches are hard for lower-income to afford though, so is renting out space and bars are pretty well free for keeping events in. 
 
MS: Sorry but Chicago Puppy Patrol does movies, crafts, gaming, beach days, museum trips, and the normal bar and mosh stuff. It’s a lame lazy excuse to say it doesn’t work and hard to get people to go out. Frankly it’s what is needed to have a community.
 
TO: A-PAH has Pups in the Park, Pup Ice Skating, Pup Bowling, Pup Kayaking, and all pups & handlers are encouraged to set up any other type of event they want.
 
BU: Adding to what has been mentioned above, cliquey-ness amongst the community separates us. Locally, our region is disjointed with groups of pups that hang out with their respective friends and don’t want to cooperate with one another.
 
EC: Same here. I’m socially awkward as it is, so trying to break into the fold is like “Well fuck.” Add in being disabled, and therefore lower income, while starting a business… I either can’t go out because I’m broke, or can’t go out because I’m sick, or I have a deadline, and it just makes it really hard. I don’t expect people to bend over backwards for me, but damn, please be a tiny bit pliable.
 
MS: We as a community are only assured 1 thing in common, we do puppy stuff. What is commonly labeled a clique is really just people that found more stuff in common and enjoy spending time together.
 
BU: Yes, these friend groups are natural, however when they start to snipe at each other it effects the general community negatively, especially for those who are just starting out. Big events are tricky, yes, but efforts to help a regional community are hindered when different groups of pups refuse to cooperate.
 
MB: I get that, but it happens in every community. Asking everyone to get along is an unreasonable request. We all have different backgrounds, ages, educations, interests, religions, races, sexualities, etc. Even if we ran like NATO we’d only be able to manage simple business relationships which is something I learned being the president of a large PAH group.
 
BU: I’m not asking everyone to like each other…I’m asking for civility and respect. As you have commented below, the disrespect in this community continues to grow…that is what I see in my local community as well as the puppy community in general.
 
MS: Yup, now that I totally agree. Even if you don’t like someone you should still be able to remain civil and get stuff done together for the betterment of the community.
 
PR: MB Agreeing to disagree is not a bad thing. There is a lot we can all learn from each other, especially from community perspectives we may not be involved in. To gt something for everyone in the community, working with not against each other definitely will be more productive.
 
MS: For me it’s having events that I can attend they always pop up last minute and when I’m unable to
 
MS: I would say the biggest issue we currently face is a lack of structure and protocol in community. People just don’t know how to act anymore. The disrespect grows every day. People lie and cheat and steal in this community unlike rubber or leather. There’s just no value system it seems and nobody is doing anything about it. It’s very sad, and I understand we had yet another puppygate over the weekend. The second one that is personal to me is the erasure of sex from puppy play. I get it, not everyone likes to mix sex and puppy play and that’s totally cool. What’s not cool is what I said above. There’s no respect and people are being slut shamed and yucked for doing what feels right to them. It’s gotta stop.
 
JC: If you stole from someone you stole from the club and there were consequences. Take away the consequences and some people just can’t help themselves but to be awful.
 
MS: Society as a whole is losing its value system. People generally don’t have integrity anymore and it’s apparent in the world we live in. That shouldn’t mean our community leaders shouldn’t be holding everyone accountable to be better. 
 
PA: I can’t​ speak personally to the lying/cheating/stealing, but in general I agree with Matthew about a lack of structure/protocol. I don’t expect puppies to be strictly restrained by protocol, I mean, thier puppies. Part of what makes them fun and adorable is their playful antics, but there is a line of respect and common decency that is crossed too often and goes uncorrected. I don’t know how to solve the under 21 issue, but early training is important and isn’t happening. As a community there is a lack of options for those under 21 where they can learn what is expected as they join the larger community. Not everyone can go to every event, not every event is something everyone wants to go to, and pop-up events leave even fewer options for those that may have wanted to go but aren’t able to because of last minute timing. When you don’t give respect, you don’t get respect. The pup community has a bad PR issue being viewed as a group of disorganized, disrespectful, disruptive bunch. Though not true of all pups enough have damaged the reputation of the group that they aren’t taken seriously and seen as a nuisance. I offer this as my opinion, from my perspective with the intent to improve the community and build it into something everyone can be included in and enjoy. I love puppies. I have a pup side myself. And I want to see a pup community that people are excited and delighted to interact with and be apart of. Not to shame anyone or be negative. I agree this should be a regular post to consult the community at large and see how we can make it better.
 
DC: When you have a pup community that is so fragment you are having a hard time getting people to come out for different events so how can I get that fixed
 
MS: Can you be more specific on what you mean by “fragmented” and “different events”?
 
DC: There is no communication between different groups. I am trying to bring everyone together and have a strong community
 
MS: Well one thing I have found here in Chicago is that puppy is a catch all for other things like leather, rubber, fisting, watersports, bondage, but other clubs don’t care much about mingling with puppies.
 
DC: I know that I can’t make people come to the events. The only thing that I can do is try to talk to the different groups to help
 
MS: You’ll have much more success if you spend time talking to and working with the pups and handlers in your local community. Finding out what they wanna do, what they like, what they’d be willing to help with. If you want to build a strong pup community you need to talk to pups and handlers one on one.
 
DS: I think I know some specifics of the situation you are trying to approach, Don W. Chapman. None of these are meant to be harsh. 1)If you are trying to build a PAH, it takes time. And it’s not easy in a title year. Framing your goals and what success look like is very important. PAH’s are all different. Chicago Puppy Patrol and North Star Kennel Club are very different, and part of that is the local culture. 2) From what I understand, the two moshes you hosted were during weekends where there were event weekends relatively nearby [to Des Moines] (MCL & QCLW) 3) Echoing MS MS don’t be the sole organizer. Have a canned response that you can start a conversation with people about attending an event. Engage with them genuinely at events. North Star Kennel Club didn’t magically form overnight and it took a few years to establish having regular moshes. We looked at when in a month things happen and when they don’t and agreed we would change if needed (and we haven’t needed to reschedule) AJ Perdew would be AJ Perdew person to talk with about organically organizing events – while what he helped accomplish was with bears, he is local to Des Moines and can help in that regard.
 
DC: Ok I do know that most of the pup’s don’t go to Leather event’s. Most of the pup’s are part of pansexual groups will be talking to them so I can organize with them on a good time to have Moshe’s. I am planning on having a mosh at pride this year if any​ group would like to help out they are welcome to.
 
AR: I think our biggest problem is our reputation… Caused by a few bad actors and an inadequate response by the rest of the community. This is largely caused by a lack of understanding and respect for our larger kink, BDSM and leather family and the values they hold dear. There are several causes: 1) There’s an education gap within the pup community. I often see pups only attending pup related classes at events. Not enough are learning about other topics or understand how much we share with the rest of the kink community. 2) We haven’t identified the root source of the disrespectful behaviors nor have we worked sufficiently to combat these unruly tendencies by some in the community. I think we have pups that grease or fuel or enhance their headspace by deliberately annoying others and, most importantly, getting away with it. These pups act as instigators. We need to watch for these root behaviors and actively combat them. 3) We embrace and celebrate the fun, free and mischief parts of pup without sufficient balance for the obedience aspects. These are two parts of the same coin and when mastered, create a balanced pup that can make a crowd smile and also behave when needed. Instead we’re creating pups that are out of control and are uncontrollable – wild. I keep thinking about Lord of the Flies…. We need to talk about balance between these two ideas and talk about how pups maintain this balance. Similarly, we need to figure out how to create spaces where Dom/sub obedient pups can play and feel welcome and celebrated.
 
DS: Assumptions and lack of communication, judging by most people’s responses.
 
DS: People who promote their way of doing puppy as the only way. There are wrong ways, but there is no one right way.
 
TW Picht I think as a new person to the community, one of the issues I see is how to keep new people interested in becoming more involved and wanting to continue to be part of the community at all. I started joining groups and interacting and reading about stuff and trying to acclimate myself to be immersed and contributory to the community so I could help my local community grow and thrive. Now im seriously reconsidering. Mostly what i have seen in the last few days has been individuals whining, b*tching, and complaining. Not enough rules, too many rules, not enough like other kink communities, too much like other kink communities, too inclusive, not inclusive enough. After attempting to participate in a discussion, i was left wanting to light myself on fire rather than feeling like part of a group that I initially had super high hopes and positive feelings about. Maybe thats my fault for seeing things in puppy play that made me feel happy and excited to want to belong before opening the door to the greasy underbelly of the community itself. I will take that responsibility. And there’s too much i like about puppy for me to be turned away completely, but i will forever be leery of participation in anything further than my local communities and probably staying out of these public forums filled with whining and complaining.
 
PR: Well that is why we have this group, to try and figure out how to make things better. Puppy had a huge growth spurt in the last few years and it’s starting to shake itself out. There are lots of good people out there. That’s one of the reasons I love events like CLAW, Midwest Puppy and International Puppy, there is a focus on the socialization.
 
TP: I see nothing but positive constructive energy from you. Others could do with following your example.
 
PR: TP Thanks I really do try and be part of the solution not part of the problem. I know not everyone is into the same things and even though I have been in Leather for 33 years and Puppy for 31, I still love learning new things. We just have to try and overwhelm the negatives with positives. There is too much crap going on in the world for us to tear each other apart
 
TP: Its easy to feel attacked or offended if you let yourself be. There was nothing wrong with your question or discussion topic or even the way you handled the original situation. I think that was called into question passionately yesterday because of the things you were wanting to see happen from that point but were unwilling to step up and do anything about it at the time. We all made suggestions on different ways it could be addressed and pretty much all agreed, doing nothing was not the correct way. More to PR point. I think we all have to be the puppy police. While everyone has different views on misconduct and appropriate behaviour, they should all conglomerate around the same basic human principles otherwise no one would hold a door for someone else. Each one of us has to police each other, respectively, and politely and not go at each other with reprimands, or punishments, or consequenses. Correction, discussion, education. BUT, we each have to be willing to stand up and do something and not sit back and ignore it becuase as Alan says, they dont want to be the puppy police. If you are unwilling to step up, then you are saying you are fine with whatever is happening. I for one, would not be. You cant be a successful community with a positive image if you just let everyone do whatever they want because you dont want to do anything personally.
 
AR: I’d be happy to tell a puppy to stop misbehaving – except we’re not addressing the root causes. Some puppies think being annoying ‘is being puppy’. More often than not – I’m sure I’ll be told to fuck off you do puppy your way I’ll do it my way.
 
TP: So how about a different approach. You are a puppy yes, how about acting like a puppy and convincing said puppy to play with you instead or redirect his attention to something else. If you waltz over with your I am right, You are being annoying attitude, I can see why you would think this is the response you are getting. Again, this is why I say, its all of our jobs, if you notice it, someone else probably does too. We have to work together, but also not be overly sensitive and complain when its clearly our own preference that is causing the issue and not the other way around. It sounds like there needs to be some social interaction sessions in the community about how to interact with each other and handlers and puppies and the public. Someone who is new or thinks a certain way, may not understand what they are doing is wrong. Or in retrospect, someone who thinks something is wrong may not understand why its not. Adding to the puppy handler classes or as stand alone sessions somewhere during events. Perhaps the big ones for a start. Claw, IML, MIR etc
 
TP: Maybe you are just not ready to belong to a social community and that’s fine. Part of working together is trying not to Poo-Poo other peoples ideas off hand because you think its a waste of time. I would think that someone, such as yourself, that feels passionately about making sure the community has a positive image and doesn’t have to be embarrassed by puppies you deem undesirable, would be willing to contribute and do just about anything to reach your goal. Like I said, throwing your hands in the air, doing nothing, complaining without constructive suggestions for betterment, does nothing for the situation. I doubt the leather community got started on the right foot the first time and without issues, same goes for any other. I am not sure why you want results but are less than willing to work for them. Trial and Error, its a process.
 
AR: It’s a trial and error process that’s failing pretty badly IMO. Mischief and breaking rules is built into the DNA of the larger kink community. But we’ve gone much farther. You can’t criticize, you can’t police others, you can’t define acceptable behaviors… any of this will be actively resisted. It’s a celebration of self expression that respects no one’s limits. We place higher value on self expression and individualism than community and respecting others limits. Too many pups ‘get off’ disrespecting others limits. I’m sorry but we have to face the problem to deal with it. I think all pups can have mischievous moments – I know I do in headspace. That’s why my Sir carries a leash at events. I respect others enough to recognize these tendencies and I’ve taken steps to ensure I’m not a nuisance to others.
 
TP: I think thats what we are doing. I see me facing the problem and dealing with it. If there is something I question, I am going to approach people and discuss it, see what I can do to educate them to my view and discuss theirs and try to come to a solution.. I see you throwing up your hands and walking away because you are afraid people will be unreceptive. There doesn’t have to be a written rule for you to make your voice heard that there is a problem. You are doing that now in this forum. I dont understand why you feel there needs to be a contract or set of strictly followed rules in place for you to be able to talk to someone about their behavior. If your neighbors dog was barking non stop which dogs sometimes do, would you approach your neighbor to discuss it or would you go to a town hall council meeting to complain about the dogs in the state that bark too much? I think the real problem is that this is not black and white and you want it to be and you want someone else to police it so you dont have too. you have a handler that does that for you. Not everyone does and its not a cookie cutter problem. what YOU see as a problem, not everyone else sees as a problem. What I see as a problem, may mean diddly to you in your opinion.
 
MS: TW, I’m seeing a lot of talk from you and also nothing of value which you’re being very critical of. I’m just hearing you tell Alan he needs to solve the problem. No, WE ALL NEED TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM.
 
TP I disagree MS. I never told AR it was his problem to solve. I am telling him its all our problems to solve which means everyone needs to be involved. Not one person pointing out the problem for the rest of us to take care of while they abstain because they do not want to approach someone for fear of their response or poo-pooing someone elses ideas because they dont think they will work or are worth the time. I pointed out several times that I am always willing to have that dialog with someone who is causing problems. I am not sure how much differently I can say I want to help be part of the solution than that. In fact, I basically said the same things you just re-iterated on another of Papa Woof Roth’s posts. It needs to be something that is presented to people in many as many avenues as possible in order for all members of the community to see it, do it, live it. I am sorry if you felt my opinions and comments were not valuable and overly critical, but it looks like we are saying the same things here. I am also seeing from you and Alan that you dont feel empowered to say something when you see something wrong. I just dont understand this. I dont see anywhere that anyone says you cant stand up for what you think is right. Whats wrong with approaching someone openly to discuss the situation. If they are unreceptive, you still did the right thing. I think there needs to be more involvmeent from the event staff to be able to escalate these issues too as well. So there is an avenue to explore if the individual is unreceptive. BUT, we all have to be receptive to each other otherwise, how can you expect someone to be open to you approaching them if you are also not acceptive to them approaching you.
 
AP: Reminding ourselves of the first word in human puppy play. We all belong to the same community that we have been a part of since we came into this world and you can’t build another one and leave behind the fact that you are human, the people you talk to are human and have different perspectives and experiences than you. I think until we can focus on that, it’s going to be hard to even step into things like protocol, structure, and growth. It’s great to have panels on puppy play for those who might be dipping their toes into it, but for those pups that have been doing it for a bit, maybe a panel or open discussion about topics like the one brought up.