I can tell you from firsthand experience, dating as a dog owner comes with its own set of blessings and curses. On one hand, in the nearly three years I’ve had my dog, I’ve somehow become what you’d call an “adult”: I make sure to get home at a reasonable hour, I always sleep in my own bed, and I cut myself off from the alcoholic beverages way sooner than in my younger years. (There is truly nothing worse than finally making it into your apartment after goin’ ham and realizing you have to go back outside to take the dog to pee.) On the other hand, it’s made me have to make some dating compromises. Dinner plans right after work when I haven’t yet gone home to walk the dog? Sorry, can’t. An out-of-town trip that’s not pup friendly? Nah, I’ll pass. Guy thinks it’s weird that I bring my dog to the bar for the majority of our dates? Deal breaker.
But for the most part, I’ve found that being a dog owner has had a positive effect on my dating life. My dog provides for a plethora of witty-banter-worthy topics (her name is Chicken), she offers unlimited sources of activities (meet at the dog park? Go for a walk? Pick a dog-friendly bar?), and, most of all, she’s a dude magnet. And, hey, science is on my side! As The New York Times reports, “People with dogs are often perceived to be more approachable, happier, and more empathetic, research shows.” Dr. Helen Fisher, a senior research fellow at the Kinsey Institute and a chief adviser to Match.com, told the Times, “Having a dog really says something about you.… It says you can care for a creature, that you can follow a schedule and get home to feed it, that you can walk it and love it and spend time with it.”
And this perception spans genders, from women looking for a male partner and vice versa, to gay men and women. “The kind of benefits you see in terms of increasing the perception that someone is reliable and caring—I think those are generalized across everybody,” Daniel J. Kruger, a research professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, told the Times.
For those of you looking for that extra nudge to take the plunge and finally get the doggo of your dreams, here’s a little research to back me up:
These two studies showed that people ranked someone happier, safer, and more relaxed when they appeared with a dog in a photograph.
Guys, want more luck getting a woman’s number? Well, this experiment showed that women are much more willing to give up their digits if you’ve got a pup by your side.
In 2015, Fisher and her colleagues conducted a survey of more than 1,200 Match.com pet-owning subscribers, and the results…well, didn’t surprise me that much, TBH. (Likewise, women surveyed seemed to express much stronger opinions on the subject than the men, as we are often wont to do.…) Almost one third of respondents said they had been “more attracted to someone” because they had a pet, more than half said they would find someone more attractive if they knew he or she had adopted a pet, the majority of respondents said they thought their date’s choice in pets said a lot about their personality, and over half said they would not date someone who did not like pets.
But the part of the findings that speaks to me the most, you ask? About two thirds of respondents said they would judge their date based on how he or she responded to their own pet. Co-author of the paper Justin Garcia told the Times, “That people might let a cat or a dog influence the most important close relationship in their life—that’s phenomenal.” I mean, is it, though? If a potential BF said literally one negative word against my dog, you better believe I’m out.
Now, the jury is still relatively out as to whether or not dog ownership actually makes you a better human. But Canadian researchers Anika Cloutier and Johanna Peetz found through a series of studies that pet owners believed their pets had a positive effect on their romantic relationships, as well as a correlation between pet ownership and higher relationship satisfaction.
Moral of the story, dogs rule.