Think of puppy mosh pits as a place where pups romp, wrestle and play with each other. At times our designated “Active Area” spaces can become quite rough and tumble compared to the designated “Quiet Area” space where quieter, shy pups go to play at a more low-key level, hang out with their Handler for pettings or to cool down and rest from the Active Area.
To ensure a safe and fun time for all participants, there are precautions and general things to remember before entering a puppy mosh. Frequently what occurs once someone enters their headspace is they seem/appear to forget all logic and act on instinct.
We hope by following the below guidelines everyone participating should be able to have a fun experience without having to learn by trial and error. Note that the term “pup” encompasses a variety of different types of human canine enthusiasts. There are plenty of wolves, dogs, hounds and everything in between in our community. We use the term pup for the sake of brevity. We also use the term “Handler” to denote both Handlers and Trainers.
Things to know ahead of time & what to bring/wear for an enjoyable puppy mosh pit:
Photography and videography will be allowed during both sessions by attendees as well as several designated Woof Camp photographers. There will be notices posted outside the event doors as well as along the inside ballroom walls reminding people of that.
We advise NOT to wear, if possible, items that have a tendency to get caught, damaged or can cause injury to others. Anything with spikes, studs or lots of zippers on it (collars, wristbands, etc.). Loose metal chains or plastic chains (harnesses, restraints, etc.) otherwise basic chain collars are okay. Belts, watches, bracelets, earrings, exposed body jewelry, etc. as these have a tendency to get caught when romping. If you choose to wear exposed body jewelry tape it down with medical tape. Please be aware event organizers and participants are not responsible for damage, loss or injury due to your neglect.
If the mosh pit security personnel see anything they think that a pup or Handler is wearing that may cause harm/injury they will ask that item to be removed or the participant to leave the area. Please respect their decision as they are looking out for the safety of everyone.
Wear something that is comfortable and cool.
Wrestling singlets, spandex clothes, shorts or cloth jockstraps. We don't advise latex or neoprene due to the possibility of them being torn or damaged from the rough interaction that can occur. For female pups a top or a bra to provide support is advised.
Puppy tail butt plugs.
Puppy tail butt plugs, like the ones SquarePeg Toys sells, are acceptable (see Prior Woof Camps) and we highly recommend wearing a butt plug harness like the ones Mr. S Leather sell to help keep your tail in while moshing so you don’t have to worry about it falling out.
Soft-soled footwear is required to avoid injury, and that includes tennis shoes, Vibram/Skele-toes “toe shoes,” surf walker shoes, martial arts shoes, and wrestling shoes. It is advisable to have some form of foot gear to avoid getting abrasions/burns along the top of your feet from moving around on all fours.
Hard-soled boots are not allowed in the mosh pits.
Wear hand protection.
This helps to keep a pup’s hands restrained, preventing them from being used like human hands, while also helping to protect their hands and knuckles from harm or “rug burn” as they romp around on the floor. Padded puppy paws or mitts, MMA gloves and even a couple pair of socks duct taped onto the hands can work. There are several paws/mitts on the market, and personal preference usually guides this purchase. A pups hands should be massaged after removing them from the restraint as hand cramping can occur, and massages feel really good, too!
A quality pair of kneepads will help keep your knees from being chewed up and allow for longer play. There is no “perfect” kneepad for pup play on the market; all will need adjustment at some point from a Handler or mosh pit security personnel when romping. When looking for a pair, keep in mind you want flexibility and comfort with some form of shock absorption (gel or thick foam rubber) or gel/hard case kneecap protection on the front, as well as a mesh or no backing to reduce bunching/chaffing behind the knee. (Kneepads used in mixed martial arts, volleyball, or skateboarding/roller blading are commonplace.) Kneepads used for stationary kneeling (like for groundwork or floor installation) are no good for pup play, as they slide off due from movement. Note that knee pads with straps can also be problematic, cutting into the legs when romping. Remember: knees are very fragile parts of the human body and constant wear and tear on these joints can lead to permanent damage, which is something we want to discourage and avoid.
Know your toy.
Every pup needs some good chew toys to chase. The best toys are soft and easy to clean, for example, toys made of durable memory foam, tooth-rugged nylon, vinyl squeaky toys or empty plastic bottles. Be wary of toys made with fur or plush (stuffed animals) or felt (like a tennis ball), as they get matted and dirty quickly, usually don’t feel/taste good in the mouth, and are more likely to transmit blood unknowingly. Hard toys like bones, rawhide, or hard rubber shouldn’t be used since human teeth are not as strong or secure as dog teeth and these toys can cause tooth damage when tugging, pulling or chewing. Beware of toys with sharp edges, pointed surfaces, small parts (choking hazard) or flaking paint on toys. Keep an eye on toys that are wearing down such as a rubber pull toy that might break/snap and cause injury. Rope toys are not recommended but if you choose to use them they should not be tugged on hard. Handlers should inspect toys from time-to-time, especially in a multi-pup situation, for any signs of blood.
Can you pull your teeth from playing tug of war with a toy too aggressively?
Yes, this is true. We have seen first hand the loosing of teeth from playing too aggressively with tug of war between a pup and a Handler and between two pups. The human mouth/teeth is not genetically designed for tugging or pulling, unlike a bio canines, which is. We all get caught up in the spirit of the tug and not wanting to give in or let go, but is better to keep your teeth then to have to be rushed to the hospital for emergency dental surgery.
Three things you can do to help avoid this is first wear some kind of mouth guard, like they sell at sports or boxing stores, that cover and protect your teeth. When grabbing and holding a toy with your mouth, use the back section of your teeth, not the front section, as that area of your mouth is stronger and finally common sense has to take place at some point and you just need to let the toy go.
All health conditions should be discussed ahead of time. If you take medications, make sure that the pup play will not interfere with taking them (remember, Handlers or mosh pit security personnel can give pups medication while in pup headspace). If you have a bad knee, bad back, Asthma, high blood pressure, heart condition or any other health concern or physical limitations, please disclose it with your Handler, mosh pit security personnel or on-site EMT before you engage in any physical activity. If you have something like a rescue inhaler or allergy injector, give it to your Handler, mosh pit security personnel or on-site EMT so that it will be there in case it’s needed. By using common sense you can usually work around these issues and still have fun pupping out.
Unfortunately some attendees have food allergies and these should be discussed ahead of time with your Handler, the event organizers and/or mosh pit security personnel so appropriate action may be taken. Please be aware that giving out an “innocent treat” in the social area or pup mosh may be potentially harmful to someone, either from first-hand or second-hand interactions (food in mouth gets on toy, toy gets picked up by another, who then gets food contact and an allergic reaction). Please refrain from bringing any kind of fruit, nuts, chocolate, honey Graham crackers, mustard, etc. as snacks. If you are unsure or have a concern, please contact the event organizers ahead of time.
Active pups use an abundant amount of aerobic/cardio energy when running around on all fours (romping, chasing, fetching) and need water or diluted replenishment drinks to replenish the loss due to the sweaty exertion. If you feel thirsty, stop and drink water, diluted drinks or other similar liquids. Long straws are a great help or water bowls with built-in sippy straws work great for those wearing hoods. Water is always provided at Woof Camp events.
Take breaks occasionally.
Make sure you are not overdoing it. If you feel dizzy or really tired, stop and rest for a short while.
Blood or injuries.
Don’t keep playing in the mosh pit if you notice you are bleeding. Stop, get cleaned up and bandaged before going back in. All mosh pits should have a first aid kit, band aids and/or an EMT available on-site.
Advice for the Handlers and mosh pit audience:
Think of it as being at a real dog park.
Some pups are owned, others aren’t. Look for a collar or tag on the pup. Offer your hand and call them over. If they don't respond, shake their head no or turn away, move on to another pup (they may be owned and don't have permission or they just aren't interested). If they nuzzle your hand or your leg, then feel free to play with the pup! Unlike other kink scenes, others are usually welcomed and may even enhance the experience! Be aware you may get knocked over or attacked and end up down in the mosh pit at some point. In fact, pups love it when Handlers get down on their level and engage them.
Handlers and Trainers are not only responsible for their pups, but if they see an issue they need to either bring it to the attention of the pup’s Handler or to one of the mosh pit security personnel. Pups very much get into headspace in the mosh pit and sometimes they may not realize they have hurt themselves, that they have been romping for hours and need a drink or need to take a little break.
Talk with the pup before they go into the mosh pit.
Safety is the first priority! If you do happen to meet or find a pup while socializing, or one seems interested in interacting with you as a Handler, take the time to ask the pup some basic questions before you engage in pup and Handler activities: How long are you wanting the interaction to last as Handler and pup? What do you want to do? What are their and your limits/expectations? What are the event organizers limits/expectations? Communicate each others desires, needs and wants ahead of time before entering the party or puppy mosh.