- Does it cost anything to attend the Woof Camp?
- What do pups, dog or wolves wear at Woof Camp?
- What if I don't have a Handler/Trainer, (I am a stray), how can I get noticed or played with and can I still attend Woof Camp?
- I'm a new Handler/Trainer, how can I get a pup, dog or wolf to interact with me?
- I have health issues, food allergies, etc. could that be that a problem?
- Why do pups need to drink so much water?
- If I have questions or need assistance, how can I identify a staff person?
- Will female pups be at the event?
- Will aggressive or sexual play (other than mild humping) be allowed?
- Is nudity allowed?
- I heard you can pull your teeth from playing tug with a toy too aggressively, is this true?
- I heard there will be a free commemorative pin given out?
- Will SquarePeg Toys be vending at Woof Camp?
- Will there be any additional surprises?
- Who is hosting the Woof Camp website?
- Who do I contact for more information?
1. Does it cost anything to attend the Woof Camp?
No, as always the Woof Camp event is free thanks to our sponsor, SquarePeg Toys. From its beginnings in hotel lobbies and side spaces at various leather events, the annual pup party has grown, with the help of many dedicated volunteer pups, dogs, wolves and Handlers/Trainers, to become one of the most attended events at IMRL. The purpose of the pup party has always been about having a place for people to get to know about the pup scene and for a place to let pups, dogs and wolves romp and be themselves. To that end, the party has always welcomed everyone who wants to attend, free of charge. That is the case this year, as it has been in the past. The generosity of our past sponsors, and of this year’s continuing sponsor, SquarePeg Toys, allows us to rent the ballrooms at IMRL so that we can comfortably, and safely, let pups be pups. We encourage everyone to support our sponsor SquarePeg Toys during IMRL and throughout the year – support their business as they support our community!
2. What do pups, dog or wolves wear at Woof Camp?
Check out the pics from past year Woof Camps (2011, 2010, etc) and it will give you an idea of what attendees wear, or don't wear, for gear.
NOT ALLOWED ITEMS: You are advised NOT to wear, if possible, items that have a tendency to get caught, damaged or can cause injury to others. Anything with spikes on it [collars, wristbands, belts, etc]. Loose metal or plastic chains [harnesses, restraints, etc]. Belts, watches, earrings, exposed body jewelry, etc other than collars as these have a tendency to get caught when romping. If you choose to wear exposed body jewelry please be aware we are not responsible for damage, loss or injury due to your neglect.
If the Woof Camp Security Handlers see anything they think that a pup, dog or wolf 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.
3. What if I don't have a Handler/Trainer, (I am a stray), how can I get noticed or played with and can I still attend Woof Camp?
Absolutely! Pups, dogs and wolves without Handlers/Trainers are encouraged to attend as Woof Camp is all about the pup community itself, and pups without Handlers/Trainers are still pups! Depending on the number of Handler volunteers, pups can still learn, socialize and train with other pups in the the Active or Quiet areas. Also, you never know when you might just catch a Handler’s eye for training, grooming, collaring, etc.
At the Woof Camp party we will pass out to those pups, dogs and wolves who identify as strays to wear a fluorescent orange event wristband that will help Handlers/Trainers and attendees identify them and hopefully encourage interaction and adoptions. To acquire your wristband, please ask for Brue, who will be located at the podium in the back of the Active Area, and he will happily tag you.
4. I'm a new Handler/Trainer, how can I get a pup, dog or wolf to interact with me?
Handlers/Trainers are welcome to play with the pups, dogs and wolves. Common protocol is to place your hand out toward the pup, dog or wolf and call them. If they come to you, you are welcome to pet or play with them. If they don’t respond to you, don’t be offended. They may be owned and trained not to respond to strangers or they may just want to do their own thing.
Another good article to check out is the “Interacting with Pups by Sparky” on Leatherati.com as it has some good advice for Handlers/Trainers and observers wanting to interact with pups/Dogs in public.
Negotiate between yourselves ahead of time!
If you do happen to meet or find a pup, dog or wolf interested in interacting with you, take the time to ask some basic questions before your encounter: How long are you as a potential Handler/Trainer and the pup, dog or wolf wanting the interaction to last? What do you want to do? What are their and your limits? Communicate your desires, needs and wants ahead of time before entering the party.
5. Is there anything I need to bring with me to participate?
Yes, there is several things to bring, the most important your desire to participate and have fun exploring your pupdom or Handler/Trainer side. In addition to this, pups, dogs, wolves and Handlers/Trainers will want to bring some specific items:
For pups: to help protect your knees, knee pads are highly recommended. If possible some form of hand/knuckle protection. Some form of bowl [metal, plastic, collapsible, etc] to hold water/liquid in as you will get dehydrated very quickly from exertion. A towel to wipe off sweaty bodies, wet mouths or use to lie on or cover yourself when resting. A collar [leather, metal chain, etc] so you can be leashed or to help put you into your pup head space.
For Handlers: A leash [leather, metal chain, rope, etc] to assist with Behavioral Training, walks, etc. A collar [leather, metal chain, etc] to temporarily use on new pups to help with pup activities. Some form of bowl [metal, plastic, collapsible, etc] to hold water/liquid in for the pups/Dogs as they will get dehydrated very quickly from exertion. A towel to wipe off the sweaty bodies, wet mouths or to have the pups/Dogs lie on or cover them when resting. A bag of treats will certainly bring pups running to you.
6. I have health issues, food allergies, etc. could that be that a problem?
All health concerns should be discussed ahead of time. If you take medications, make sure that the pup play will not interfere with taking them (remember, Handlers/Trainers can give pups, dogs or wolves medication while in head space). If you have a bad knee, bad back, high blood pressure or any other health concern or physical limitations please disclose it before you engage in any physical activity. By using common sense you can usually work around these and still have fun pupping out.
Pups, dogs and wolves enjoy being rewarded with treats/snacks from Handlers/Trainers. Unfortunately some attendees have food allergies. Please be aware when bringing/handing out treats in the pup areas that an innocent treat/snack may potentially be harmful to another, either from first or second hand interactions [food in mouth gets on toy, toy gets picked up by another who then gets food contact and allergic reaction], so refrain from bringing nuts, chocolate, honey Graham crackers, etc as snacks, thank you.
7. Why do pups need to drink so much water?
Active pups, dogs and wolves use an abundant amount of aerobic energy when running around on all fours romping, chasing, fetching and need water to replenish the loss due to the sweaty exertion. Handlers/Trainers are advised to keep a water bottle or bring a bowl and use the free water stations located in the Active Area to replenish the bowls/bottles. If you are a stray pup, make sure you ask or arrange with one of the Security Handler volunteers some form of signal that indicates they need to give you water before you go into the pup, dog or wolf head space. Also try and bring a towel to wipe down the sweaty body after playing.
8. If I have questions or need assistance at the event, how can I identify a staff person?
Woof Camp volunteer staff and Security Handlers will be wearing neon yellow vests with Woof Camp logos on them and will be able to assist or answer questions you may have. You may also head to the podium along the back wall of the Active Area where a staff member will be at all times.
9. Will female pups be at the event?
Yes, but this is International MISTER Leather and as such Woof Camp is designed as a male energy event. We would ask both pups and Handlers of both sexes to respect the others' preferences and signals (a growl or turn of the head is usually a good sign to ease/back off or not interested).
10. Will aggressive or sexual play (other than mild humping) be allowed?
Aggressive play, to a point, will be allowed in the Active Area only as the Quiet Area is for the more shy, mellow pups, dogs and wolves and a place to peacefully relax. Any pup, dog or wolf being too aggressive will be asked by the Security Handlers to settle down. If the overly aggressive behavior continues the pup, dog or wolf will be asked to leave and/or be escorted from the event. If you do not want to be Dominated, give clear body posture, voice signals indicating this or just temporarily leave that particular area if you are approached by an Alpha. Hopefully they will respect your wishes. Again, if you are having problems please approach one of the Woof Camp Security Handlers to help assist with the issue.
Sexual play has never occurred at the event, except for some mild playful humping. What you do in your own private hotel room is up to you. Who knows, maybe you will be lucky and meet some others interested in taking the party back to their room at the end of the night?
In regards to pack mentality and hierarchy (Alpha, beta and omegas) these roles tend to be determined through attitude, voice cues and body language. Alphas are not on top because they are cruel or a bully; being an Alpha is not related to being overly physically aggressive, like using human wrestling/pinning moves or unnecessary biting. The wanna-be Alphas sometimes fail to realize this and often keep up the aggression. Those who truly understand and appreciate pup mentality will pick up and perceive verbal and non-verbal cues and respond accordingly. I understand with real canines that there is always just one Alpha in a pack and when two Alphas encounter each other they normally try to reestablish a hierarchy, but in the end we are still human and need to accept that with so many human pups, dogs and wolves out there that there will always be multiple Alphas. When human packs come together, they will negotiate the power structure if need be, but in many cases there are no such conflicts. They just want to be social, playful and interactive with each other.
11. Is nudity allowed?
Full nudity will not be tolerated, and anyone that does not comply with this will be asked by our volunteer staff to leave the event. Even though Woof Camp is held in a private banquet room and is a safe place to be yourself, the event is still subject to the laws of the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago. Pups, dogs, wolves and Handlers/Trainers are asked to use common sense, and to help keep this event fun for everyone.
Most pups at the party are in some form of rubber or leather gear though there are many in jeans, shorts, singlets or jockstraps. Pup tail butt plugs, like the ones SquarePeg Toys sells, are acceptable [see past Woof Camp pictures on the website to get an idea of what others wore]. Remember no total nudity will be allowed. As a side note, it gets very warm when playing in the Active Area, and dehydration can be a very real concern, so choose your attire wisely.
12. I heard you can pull your teeth from playing tug with a toy too aggressively, is this true?
Yes, this is true. I 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, dogs and wolves. The human mouth/teeth is not genetically designed for tugging or pulling, unlike a bio canines, which is. I know 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 an 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.
13. I heard there will be a free commemorative pin given out?
Those participants attending from 9pm-11pm will receive a free Woof Camp 2013 commemorative pin while supplies last. Please seek out Brue for your free pin.
14. Will SquarePeg Toys be vending at Woof Camp?
SquarePeg Toys will not be vending at Woof Camp as they will have been vending all day at the vendor mart and would like to participate and have fun as well.
15. Will there be any additional surprises?
It's always possible that a “guest” might make an appearance sometime during Woof Camp. Keep your eyes and ears alert!
16. Who is hosting the Woof Camp website?
Since the beginning of the pup parties at IML, Leather Creations has been generously web hosting the pup party website which has evolved into the now known Woof Camp event held at IMRL. Please support their business as they continue to support our community.
17. Who do I contact for more information?
Send an email to WoofCamp@yahoo.com with any questions.