Are you single, but wish you were in a relationship? Are you tired of lonely nights by yourself and long for dinners and dates out on the town with a significant someone? Do you vent to your dog about your job, friends, or family and wish you had a mate to talk to instead? Luckily for you, your pet is more than just a good companion, conversationalist, and snuggler – he is also the perfect wingman.
According to a survey by Purina, "Nearly 6 out of 10 surveyed say that they are likely to consider a person with a dog more attractive. " What’s more, 54 percent believe their pet is the perfect conversation starter with someone they’re interested in. And if you’re into online dating, the survey also found that 1 in 3 people want to talk to someone that has their pet in their dating profile photo. Moral of the story? If you’re having problem finding a mate, get a pet.
But how will a pet, specifically a dog, help you meet someone? And how can you turn puppy love into human love?
It’s almost unavoidable to use your dog as an icebreaker at some point because your dog needs to be walked. She needs exercise and she needs to poop, and you as the owner are responsible for making sure she can do those things (preferably outside). When you’re walking her, people are everywhere — on the street, sidewalk, corner café, or dog park — and you’re bound to strike up conversation.
To test that theory, the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom did a study on the social catalyst effect of dogs. In the study, senior research fellow Dr. June Nicholas conducted her daily routine for ten days – five with a dog, five without – and recorded how many people stopped to talk to her every day. (It should be noted that the dogs used in the studies were guide dogs since they are trained to ignore passersby.)
The result? Three strangers spoke to her when she didn’t have a dog and 65 spoke to her when she did. (65 people is a lot. In my opinion, that town sounds too friendly.) The study was also performed with a man and large black dog to see if less people approached them based on the size of the dog and the appearance of the man, and they found the same results. If someone has a dog, more people talk to them.
People with dogs are generally perceived as more friendly, outgoing, and approachable and striking up a conversation with them – especially about their pet – helps meet them in a safe, non-threatening manner. It’s also easier to approach people with disabilities who have dogs because although assistance dogs are there to work (usually with signs that say I am not a pet, do not pet me), their mere presence makes it easier to have a connection with the person: "People are not very good at knowing how to approach people with disabilities, so they don't. It's not prejudice, but it hurts." says Dr. Nicholas in an article. "We found that people with an assistance dog rated the social contact made as being as valuable as the actual work the dog had been trained to do."
If you have a dog and are ready to find a pawfect human companion, try some of these:
Get online. Most of my friends are on Tinder and will swipe right for any man with a dog in his photo. But did you know beyond dating apps and sites like Tinder, e-Harmony, and Grindr, there are also ones specifically for dog lovers? Twindog, DateMyPet.com, and MustLovePets.com help you meet the person (and pup) of your dreams.
Take your puppy to the park. Puppies, like babies, make women swoon. An AKC survey found that 58 percent of men said puppies are babe magnets, and women agree: 46 percent of women said they would stop and talk to anyone with a puppy. Dog parks are also fantastic places to meet people, especially people with dogs. Dog parks give you a chance to interact with your dog and dogs he’s playing with and can help you easily strike up a conversation with another pet parent.
Get the right breed. While all dogs can be matchmakers and help you find the perfect mate, some breeds stand out of the crowd, according to a survey by Klooff. If you have a Chihuahua, Poodle, or Beagle, you have a great opportunity to attract men while out on a walk. And if you have a German Shepherd, Siberian Husky, or French Bulldog, women will be lining up around the corner for you. But Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers top both lists, making them the top dog breeds to attract both sexes.
Although my dog Henry did not help me meet my guy, he did help me realize Mike was worth keeping around. Henry was tough on Mike when we first started dating – he peed on Mike’s apartment floor well after he was housetrained, chewed through his leash one night while Mike was watching him, and cried himself to sleep under the bed. Because Henry was already my soul mate, he was making a clear case that there may be no more room for more in my heart. But Mike stuck through it and Henry realized there was enough love for both him and Mike in my life, and now they are inseparable. (In fact, I am now the one kicked out of the best friends club.)
Sure, you can find your mate without your pet, but it’s not nearly as fun. Enjoy the walks, parks, and apps with your pet and see what puppy luck and love may be waiting for you. And remember, no matter how you meet your mate, your dog was there first, knows you best, and will make sure you find the perfect match.