When it comes to dating, it’s a dangerous world out there.
If you’re not being catfished, you’re likely being breadcrumbed – and we don’t know anybody that hasn’t fallen victim to a good old -fashioned ghosting. But the latest dating trend might just be the most toxic of all.
Picture this, you’re scrolling through Tinder and you come across the most beautiful specimen known to man. He’s got scruffy hair, warm eyes, and he looks like he’d be an incredible snuggle buddy. Oh, and the dog’s owner looks alright, too.
We’ve all been guilty of matching with somebody purely because of their canine companion.
But what if they’re just pretending they have a dog to lure you in? We are, of course, talking about dogfishing.
It’s not top secret that having a dog on your profile vastly improves your matchability. After all, who doesn’t want a furry companion to accompany them on dates?
A study conducted earlier this year by eharmony found that singles with dogs on their dating profiles got the most right swipes.
Plus, a 2017 study conducted by Elites Singles found that if you have a dog you’re a whopping three times more alluring than a cat owner.
So it’s no real wonder that people are starting to catch on, borrowing their mate’s Golden Retriever or their mum’s Sausage Dog to improve their success rates.
It’s usually only once you’ve naively matched with a dogfisher that they sheepishly reveal the cold, hard truth.
They utter: “Uhh sorry that’s my friend’s dog actually,” before swiftly changing the subject in a desperate bid to keep you interested.
But once the dog is out of the picture, they suddenly seem so much less attractive, and you’re just left deflated and miffed at the blatant false advertising.
Speaking to The Washington Post, dating expert Erika Ettin said that beyond our selfish desire for a furry friend, there’s actually another, deeper reason we’re inclined to right swipe a dog owner.
Explaining that we often assume animal owners are kind and caring, she said: “Sometimes women subconsciously equate things like how a man treats his dog is how he would treat a partner.”
And she’s not the first to say so, as Helen Fisher, a senior research fellow at the Kinsey Institute, told The New York Times that a pup acts as a “powerful mating signal,” showing potential matches that a man is “nurturing and capable of caregiving”.
It’s unlikely that we’ll ever be able to resist stopping mid Tinder-sesh to coo over a dog. But next time, it might be safer to stop and ask yourself how you feel about the guy holding it, too.