Trainers teach someone to become a human pup. It is an awesome role, a great responsibility and the duty is worth it. Seeing your pup learn and experience the wonder of letting go and becoming a pup is hard to compare to other BDSM pursuits. Many pups, and more than a few people calling themselves Handlers or Trainers, go into pup training with no clear idea of the values and ethics involved. Teach em a safe word, shove a tail in, throw a play toy and there ya go - human pup play. That's play alright, but it isn't serious pup training. On our site (siriuspup.net) we detail the many lessons and activities our pups learn to become a pup. It isn't the only way to learn, and there are excellent Trainers out there. There are qualities you should look for in a Trainer, or develop in yourself if you are intending to become one.
The first quality I mention is Open Mindedness. Put simply, open mindedness is a willingness to look, to actively search, for evidence that goes against what you already think. A Trainer needs to be able to understand that he or she brings to the pup play his or her own favoured beliefs, plans, goals and ideas. Prejudices and opinions, and ways of doing things the Trainer thinks is right because they do it that way. Your Trainer needs to weigh new evidence, what they learn about you as a pup and from you as a pup, against what the Trainer already knows - and do this in a fair manner. Pup Trainers should always take into consideration evidence, things they see and experience and learn, that go against what they already believe , And once they acknowledge that evidence, the Trainer should be prepared to revise his or her own beliefs and attitudes in response to this new information.
Why is that so important? Because when people assume they are totally correct, particularly in the face of evidence to the contrary, people make stupid decisions. They really do. From peasant mobs with pitchforks to Fox News viewers voting in idiots at the ballot box, close mindedness can be terrible in its consequences Active open mindedness leads to good or better outcomes, as the Trainer thinks better.
A prepared Trainer has a fairness to new ideas, regardless of the views they already hold. A Trainer should fight against a natural human bias that occurs in the mind.
Here are some common mistakes a Trainer can make, ones that are seemingly encouraged by the BDSM role of Trainer. Beware these ways of thinking.
Changing your mind is a sign of weakness - no, it is not. It is a sign you can learn from new information and that you can adapt to new circumstances, which is what you want your pup to emulate.
Intuition is the best guide in decision making - no it is not. Reason is the best guide in decision making, and simply being distracted or being randy can cloud your so called intuition.
It is important to persevere in your beliefs even when evidence is brought to bear against them - never try to train a person who clearly is not into pup training is an obvious example of why you shouldn't keep at something when it isn't working.
A Trainer should disregard what conflicts with his or her methods - no, as you are simply limiting yourself and your pup to a narrow and probably unhealthy outcome.
In my own pack I extend this principle of Open Mindedness further, to include my Alpha. I personally believe it is vital to my packs health to have an Alpha who can be a devil's advocate, and present challenging or contrary points of view to the Trainer. A pack can be led to suffer from that most terrible of group behaviours - groupthink.
Groupthink is a bias in thinking, a tendency to only listen and accept views and opinions that suit what you already believe, favouring the people who agree with you and dismissing anyone who doesn't. If a person doesn't express an opinion that fits in with the already established order then they tend to be ostracised and mocked. and their opinion derided. Groupthink leads to terribly defective and stupid decision making, as the group fails to look effectively for alternative sin decision making and problem solving, as the group only hears what it wants to hear.
For the Sirius Pups it is important our Alpha pup always be able to challenge groupthink. The pack does need to come together and support one another, but after sensible decision making. A Trainer who wants to be your tyrant is likely to end up making a stupid decision somewhere along the line and be too proud to admit it and lose face in front of a pup. So look for Open Mindedness in your Trainer and you know you will learn and explore puphood with your Trainer, not sometimes despite them.