Imagine a relaxing atmosphere
At the centre of human pup play is the behaviour of the human pup. A pup acts like a pup. And a pups experience of what they are doing is important too as they get into their pupspace in their head. In order for a person to behave like a pup, to achieve that mental pupspace, they need to utilise their imagination. They need to believe they are being a pup.
A vivid imagination helps a human pup believe that their actions and play is meaningful, and appropriate; that the pup is doing what fits pup play. Believing in oneself as they perform as a pup gives an honesty and integrity to the encounter between you and your pup. Imagination helps the pup translate stimuli, what pup perceives in the environment around them, into meaning as a pup, rather than as a human person. Those reactions to stimuli can jump start learned responses your pup has acquired from training, to the point they become automatic. Imagination essentially helps your pup really get into human pup play. And the environment they are in affects their imagination.
It's a given that the environment is important in pup play, for safety and privacy, and for the stimuli to help make it pleasurable. Yet there is another aspect to the environment of play that is vitally important, and it is within the realm of the Owner and Trainer to affect that environmental condition for the better for pup play. It is the "atmosphere", the ambient "feeling", the "emotional timbre" of the room or place of play. It isn't so much about the furnishings and wallpaper, even though some homes can cause make a person feel like they are in the wrong place to play; atmosphere is primarily the sense of feeling and the emotional tone you both experience. It is created mostly by you and your pups behaviour.
A tense atmosphere will impede, sometimes even shut down, the human pups imagination. Before we deal with how to cope with that, we need to make certain we are discussing the the right sort of tense atmosphere. Let's not mistake two different types of tense atmosphere for each other. In one kind of tense atmosphere, there is a sexual tension in the air, an anticipation of what might come next in BDSM play. This atmosphere is fine for pup play.
The other kind has a nervous tension in the air, with fear and worry of what might or might not happen. This atmosphere is stressful for a human pup, and it can be much harder to act and behave like a pup. A human pup will most likely hold back some emotions, and will struggle to relax and let go of the constant human thinking. It can become a vicious feedback loop between pup and owner, as the human pup is holding back and seems to be false and insincere, hesitant in pup behaviour. This can antagonise an unwise owner into demanding better from the pup, demands which just add to the stressful tense atmosphere.
Before a human can truly effectively shed their psychical skin and inhabit the role of being a pup they need to shed their baggage and let go of tension and anxiety which can impede smooth and sincere pup behaviour. The easiest way you can help relax the atmosphere for a pup to play is to be considerate and empathetic to them. As your pup arrives to play, interact with them, talk, and discreetly ascertain your human pups current mood. Just be aware of their emotional state to begin with, and from there you can use the tools and techniques and your understanding of their potential anxiety, to help your pup relax into play.
The key practice that will help you relax any tense atmosphere is by being a leader to your pup. A strong leadership that requires you to follow this simple practice --
- when you make a mistake, admit it. Then move on.
Never blame your pup to cover up for you being wrong. As an owner and trainer you should demonstrate strong, sincere honesty, which means you have to show your failings as well as your prowess and strength. Be prepared to take responsibility for mistakes and what doesn't work, and it will help you forge a closer bond of trust with your human pup.
You can avoid any mistake that happened becoming a road block to a relaxed atmosphere by thinking of your mistake as just an interesting option or choice - of course an option that makes sense. It can simply be that your intention is right, but you haven't phrased your commands, your instructions and requests well. So looking at the mistake you made as simply "one way of saying it", "one way of explaining or doing it", helps you use your own imagination to solve the problem. You imagine the mistake as an attempt to do something as one of many possible ways, rather than as the only way which ended in failure.
A mistake can be a hurdle in play, so you can smooth out the difficulty it might present by engaging with your pup with love and affection. Now is the time to show some gratitude for your pup for their good qualities, and it gives you time to think of ways forward while relaxing the atmosphere.
As an example - you have fumbled inserting the tail into your pup, and they have tensed up. You admit you fumbled it, you relax, and reassure your pup with demonstrative affection and care. While you are being loving, you use your own imagination to think of other ways to insert the tail. Maybe on all fours rather than curl posture? Maybe pup can do it for himself? The problem will be solved, the hurdle overcome. And you both can relax.
In a relaxed atmosphere imagination helps everyone enjoy human pup play.