Hi, pups! I hope you're all doing well.
As you may have noticed, there's a lot of diversity in the world of human puppies! There are SO many flavors of puppy self-expression!
That's super cool.
But for a brand-new pup coming into the scene, it can still be super overwhelming. What if they don't have an owner? What if they don't know how to bark? What if they've only played as a dog on their own, when nobody is in the house?
Puppies, it's gonna be okay. Here's some advice for your first time pupping out in public.
Before your very first pup event, make sure you take care of yourself as well as you can. Be well-groomed, well-fed, well-hydrated, and well-rested. Take some time to check in with yourself. Are you ready to be social? How are you feeling mentally and physically?
Depending on the type of event and the location, your clothing and gear choices might vary. For an event that is specifically for pups or other human animals, many people will express their animal-selves with ears, tails, muzzles, masks, and paws. If it's a leather, fetish or kink event, pup gear is often welcomed. If it's an otherwise vanilla (non-kink) event, you may want to check in with the party hosts. A discreet collar may be acceptable, but full-on pupping out might be frowned upon.
A note on collars: Many pups use collars to signify ownership, or other significant relationship. Others use collars to show the world their animal side, regardless of relationship status. Some pups I know wear collars all the time, but only add a lock when they are in a serious relationship. And other creatures have different collars they use for different occasions! Decide for yourself what wearing a collar means to you.
While your outfit, gear, costume, or ensemble may grow and evolve over time, don't worry if you don't have all the "right" things at first. For this first event, make sure that everything you wear is clean, and if you're planning on doing any roughhousing, pick something you're willing to have damaged! If you're worried about showing your face, you can wear a mask or bandanna. If you're going to be on all fours, consider bringing knee pads.
When approaching other human pups, go slowly until they signal (verbally or physically) that they're okay with playing. Walk towards them, make eye contact, sniff at the air, extend your paw. If they run up and nuzzle you, they're interested in more interaction! If they turn the other way or give other body language that implies they're uninterested, leave them be. And if the interaction is more than you're comfortable with, you can let them know through pup body language, human words, or standing up and walking to another area.
When in doubt, find a toy to play with. Or even better: bring a toy! A squeaky stuffed animal or tennis ball is a great way to make puppy friends (for handlers too!). Bark and see who barks back. Approach humans respectfully. Sit at their feet and look up, maybe extend a paw to shake. Offer them your toy and see if they'll play. Most people who have interacted with bio-dogs will understand these physical cues.
Overall, have fun expressing your inner pup and meeting new friends! Be respectful, be safe, and have a great time!