two people taking a golden retriever on a walk in the mountains

Dating With Dogs: Will Finding Your Match Depend on Fido?

Author Icon from Laurel Lewis

Dating with dogs can be fun if you find people who love animals and are excited to meet yours. But what about the challenges that come with dating when you have a pet? Read on to learn how to deal with some of these challenges.

First, the juice.

A recent study of over 1,000 participants shows that people who include their dogs in their dating profile pic are found to be more attractive, and more specifically, the age and size affected the perception of their attractiveness.

A woman posing with her dog outside

Women with medium-sized dogs had an increase of 7.2% in attractiveness, while men holding puppies had a 13.4% increase in attractiveness.

In fact, 2 out of 5 single people admit to swiping right on a profile pic, just because they want to meet the pictured pet. This brings us to a Public Service Announcement: beware of dogfishing. Make sure to ask if the dog in your love interest’s pictures actually is their dog.

What if the person I’m dating doesn’t have a dog- is that a bad sign?

Not necessarily! There are many reasons single people don’t have dogs or cats. If the person you’re getting to know doesn’t have a dog or cat because they don’t have the time to commit to a pet, this is a sign that they take pet ownership seriously. If their reason is because they don’t like dogs or cats, your next question to them should be, “Are you willing to consider dating someone with a pet, and would you consider living with a pet in the long run.” If the answer is no, then it’s clear that this isn’t a match made in pet heaven. Cut your losses and move along. Savage.

When dating, the two most important questions to ask yourself are:

  1. How does this person act around my dog?
  2. How does my dog react to this person?

How does this person act around my dog?

If your date likes dogs and agrees to date someone with one (or three), observe how they are with your lil’ guy or gal. Consider these questions and answers:

  • Are they controlling during the first time they meet your dog- saying “NO” too sternly or giving other commands harshly?
  • Do they avoid touching or petting your dog altogether? Right away.
  • Do they take your dog into consideration within the first couple of dates- offering or agreeing to go on a walk, to a park, or to a dog-friendly patio so Bruiser can come along? No? J-A-I-L.
  • Do they act open to your approach to training with your dog, or do they think there is only one way – their way – of training a dog? Straight to jail.

While we are approaching these answers lightheartedly, these are important points to observe and will tell you a lot about the person you are with. If someone is willing to be flexible and open to learning more about your dog, and you are also open and flexible to learning about their viewpoints, then give it a go if you are interested in dating them!

How does my dog react to this person?

This answer requires a little Dog Body Language: 101. Watch your dog’s face, body, and tail as you observe interactions with your dating contender. If your pet is showing any of these signs, they are trying to tell you something. Animals have senses beyond what we humans have… Trust them.

Dog Body Language

  • Fear, nervous, or stressed: Quivering, hunkering, flinching, tucked tail, lip licking, shying away, ‘whale eye’- whites of eyes showing as dog turns head slightly away, eyes stay on object or person.
  • Defensive or Protective: Growling, barking, stiffened body, tail straight out or at high alert- could be wagging, raised hair, locked gaze.
  • Happy, Safe & Content: Tail relaxed or lightly up and wagging, relaxed mouth, leaning on human, sitting or laying down on their own, walking with ease (or however your doggo normally walks).
  • Plain-old doesn’t care: ignores new human.
  • LOVES new human: Jumps, gets excited, high-pitched-whines when they see new human, wiggles butt, “tap dances”, etc… Just keep in mind if your dog loves all new people, their demeanor will probably change into negative body language if they decide they don’t like the new person.

Note about cats: Cats generally take longer to warm up to people than dogs. Cats may hide, pop in and out to see this new person, get a view, then hide away until they really feel a sense of comfort and bonding. If they don’t like your new person, you might not know right away.

It’s official. person feeding white dog their dog food in their bowl.

If you decide to take the relationship to the next level, here are some tips to encourage the bonding of your dog with your new partner, or the other way around. Use these tips in chronological order, one step at a time. Don’t move on to the next step until your dog is showing signs of improvement with the current step. Just like dating.

Have your partner feed your pet at mealtime- watch your dog’s body language for signs of comfort as your partner continues to perform this step.

  1. Playing with your dog- start with short increments of time and increase as your dog gains interest.
  2. One-on-one walk with your dog- Have your partner take treats and speak in a positive and upbeat tone.

Just remember, especially if you have a rescue dog, if your dog is acting shy or uninterested (not fearful or aggressive) in your new partner, they might be responding to something that happened to them in the past, not necessarily responding to this particular person. Give your dog time, autonomy, and encouragement when introducing a new person into your life.

Are you dating someone who also has a dog, and you’re ready for your dogs to meet? Before you take it to the next level, be sure to watch Dog & Cat Introductions with your new love interest. Introductions go best when both pet parents know what to expect! Happy dating!

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