french bulldog in between couples legs

How your dog could help you get a date

We all know that owning a dog brings so many benefits – companionship, fun, exercise. And, of course, a warm furry body to curl up with on the sofa after a long, bracing walk. No wonder that we all dote on our four-legged friends, and do all we can to keep them in the best of health – including, of course, taking out pet insurance to help pay for their ongoing care.

But did you know that, among its many other benefits, dog ownership may be able to help you find love?

It’s true: recent research has shown that mentioning your dog in your dating profile can increase your chances of a successful match. The pet care marketplace Rover recently polled more than 1,000 pet owners who had used dating apps. Their responses turned up a very interesting pattern: some 76 per cent, or just over three quarters of respondents, would be more likely to seek out a match with a potential partner if they included a dog in their online dating profile.

Over half of the single ‘pet parents’ surveyed also said that they had included their dog in their own profile in order to increase their chances of finding a potential match. What’s more, just under a quarter (24 per cent) of respondents admitted that they had included a picture of a dog that wasn’t their own, in order to get some connections with potential partners!

The research also drilled down further, to find out which breeds of dog seemed most likely to tug at the heart strings of potential soulmates. It turns out that the breed in pole position here – the most likely to get would-be partners clicking to find out more – was the beautiful, gentle Golden Retriever. The top five of interest-arousing breeds was rounded out by Labradors, Cockapoos, Cocker Spaniels and Border Collies.

So, if you're struggling in your quest for romance, a picture of your favourite furry friend could help you out. And, if said furry friend happens to be a Golden Retriever or one of the other breeds we mentioned above… Well, sit back and start waiting for the emails to come rolling in!

dog sitting on a field in front of a couple

But in all seriousness, we shouldn’t be all that surprised by the news that owning a dog can increase your chances of forming a connection with someone. After all, showing your love for a pet is bound to come across as an attractive quality, as it suggests the very types of character attributes – kindness, empathy, affection, a desire to nurture and look after others – that many people will be looking for in a partner.

This is just one of a host of positive effects associated with pet ownership. For example, a 2020 survey by the Universities of York and Lincoln found that owning a pet brought about better mental health and sense of companionship during that year’s Covid lockdowns.

Meanwhile, a 2021 survey by online community Tracking Happiness found that pet owners were significantly happier than those without a creature companion – and that dog owners were among the most contented of all (and, here at Purely Pets pet insurance, we’ve heard so many wonderful tales of companionship between dogs and their humans). We can’t help but think that this base level of contentment must be a good starting point for finding love.

Digital dating and dogs

A few apps have already caught onto the correlation between dog ownership and dating success. One app, Dig, launched in 2020, brands itself ‘the dog person's dating app’ and sets out to match well-suited pet lovers. If you’re looking to find someone who will shower your pet with as much affection as you do – or if you’re dreaming of meeting someone to share all the fun of dog ownership – this looks like a good place to start.

The app is aimed solely at dog owners, so you won’t waste time sifting through potential mates, only for them to later reveal themselves as a non-doggie person. Instead, each profile contains information on both the dater and their dog – so you can take the time to reassure yourself that you’re going to get along with both human and canine before you arrange a date.

There are a range of filters for the canine companions as well as humans – so, as well as specifying what age range you’re looking to meet, you can also zoom in on what dog types and personalities you’re happy to hang out with.

Each day, Dig will present you with five like-minded dog lovers to choose from. If you find yourself hitting it off with someone and a date looks likely, the app will even suggest some dog-friendly locations in your area.

But what about if you’d like your dog to come along on any dates that you arrange – but they don’t tend to get on well with other canines? No problem: you can filter your search to only include potential mates without dogs of their own.

Dig is not the only player on the dogs-and-dating landscape. There’s also Fetch Me a Date, a digital community of dog lovers all looking for a fellow doggie devotee to hook up with. The great thing about this site is that you don’t even need a dog of your own in order to get involved. All you need is a love of dogs, and the site will do the rest, connecting you with fellow pup owners in your area and further afield.

Finally, the Dog Lovers Dating platform allows users to browse the profiles of fellow members, and to ‘like’ those of any they’d like to connect with directly. You can filter your results by distance, so the fellow dog lovers nearest to you will come up first.

So, you’ve found someone on a dog dating platform who looks as though they might just be potential partner material, and you’ve arranged to meet. You’re bringing your canine along, naturally. What should you remember, in order to make the meeting an enjoyable and stress-free occasion for humans and pups alike?

Of course, a lot of this will come down to ensuring that your dog is properly socialised. This is a process that needs to begin early on in your dog’s life – typically between three and 12 weeks of age. We looked in a little more detail at how to socialise your puppy in this article. With that in mind, here are some key things to remember when the meeting itself takes place:

1. For indoor meets, keep your dog in a separate room until everyone has settled in

It’s likely that you may have your first meeting with a potential love match somewhere outdoors. A stroll in the park with your dog or dogs could be the perfect, neutral place for everyone to get to know one another. However, if you decide to invite your match over to your house for a first meeting, it’s best to keep your dog confined in another room until your visitor has arrived and settled in. Having a strange person in the house can be unnerving for a dog, which in turn could unsettle your guest. Best to let them get properly settled in before your pet makes an appearance.

2. Let your pup approach your date first

Wherever you’re meeting, let your pup approach the new person, rather than the other way round. This might be the kind of thing you’ll discuss in advance, rather than springing it on your date on the day itself. You could message ahead of time, mentioning that you’ll be bringing your dog along and it would be great if they could wait to be introduced.

3. Bring treats into the equation

Treats can be a great way of bringing down your dog’s defences and creating positive associations with a certain person. So, again, why not ask your date to hold out some treats, or drop them on the ground nearby, without making eye contact with your pet. While doing so, they should stand to one side or crouch down on the ground: your dog will interpret these as unthreatening stances, and be more at ease as a result. This is another thing you may want to suggest in advance!

4. Don’t reward poor behaviour

Only bring out rewards and affection once they’ve presented their friendliest face. By the way, if you ever find that you’re struggling to socialise your dog around other dogs or humans, as a customer of our Purely Pets pet insurance you can come to us for advice. That’s because one of the benefits of our pet insurance policies is a 24-Hour Vet Helpline. You can ring this number any time with a concern about your pet, and speak to one of our team of veterinary professionals.

5. Have plenty of patience

Asking your date to present your canine chum with a treat should bring your pup out of its shell, and they may approach the new person in a friendly manner. However, this could take a while. Don’t rush things, or show signs of stress – this will only exacerbate your dog’s anxieties, and could even make for an uncomfortable atmosphere between you and your date. Try to remain as calm and patient as possible, and let your dog acclimatise in their own time.

Let the conversation flow

In choosing to meet up with a fellow dog owner, you’ve already given yourself one major advantage when it comes to finding a connection together. You and your date have a major shared interest – indeed, a certain someone who occupies much of your life and your affections! Because of this, you have a ready-made set of conversation topics, and the chat shouldn’t stall.

Some dog-related questions to get the conversation flowing include:

  • “Tell me about your dog. How long have you had them? What’s their personality? What makes them happy / anxious?”
  • “What do you like to do together?”
  • “Do you have any favourite walks?”
  • “Have you had other dogs before this one?”

You can also get down to some of the more nitty-gritty aspects of dog ownership, sharing hints, tips and suggestions on a wide range of practical aspects of life with a dog. These could include favourite foods, trusted local vets and pet sitters, and even recommendations for the best pet insurance.

couple running on the beach with a dog

Introducing your dog to other dogs

As all owners know, meetings between one dog and another can go in a variety of ways – depending on the two animals’ character and training, as well as the external circumstances of the meeting itself. So, if you’re meeting up with a date and you’re both bringing your canine companions along, it can be difficult to predict with any certainty how things will go. However, there are definitely a few things you can do to increase the chances of a happy meeting.

For starters, it will really help if your dog is already used to meeting other animals. It’s a good idea to start them off with an introduction to a confident, well-socialised dog. With this kind of animal, the chances of the meeting going off smoothly are higher. That means, in turn, that your dog is more likely to come away with positive associations of meeting other pups, and will be better disposed towards such meetings in the future.

When it comes to the meeting on the day, choose a calm, controlled environment without too many other stimuli or distractions for your dog. Make the introductions gradually, with both dogs on a lead to begin with. Dogs can be acutely sensitive to personal space, and also very protective of their owners: so you should start by staying at some distance from both the other dog and their owner. Give your dog a reward if they show calm behaviour at this stage.

After this, you can both approach the other dog gradually. When the dogs meet, they can sniff and get to know each other. Again, use positive reinforcement, rewarding your pet for confident behaviour. They will take positive associations away from the meeting and be happier meeting other new dogs in the future.

You may need to go through several of these introductions before your dog is truly at home with meeting other animals. However, it will be worth it for both of you in the long run, as making friends with other animals can be a big source of pleasure for dogs. And, of course, you never know who you might meet as a result!

How to ensure a safe first meeting

So, you’ve been chatting online to a fellow doggie lover, and you’ve now arranged a first meeting in person. You’re excited – and probably a little nervous, too. But how do you make sure the meeting goes off calmly and safely? Here are a few key precautions you may wish to take.

1. Tell family and/or friends about where you’ll be
You might even want to download a ‘tracker’ app, so chosen friends and family can see on a map where you are.

2. Meet somewhere well-lit and very public
As a dog owner, you may well be bringing your companion along and meeting in a park during the daytime. This makes for a great, safe time and place to meet.

3. Never get into a car with someone you don’t know and/or trust
You may want to arrange a meeting nearby, with a trusted friend, soon after the date. That way, you’ve got the ready excuse of somewhere else you need to be if the date isn’t going well. What’s more, your friend will immediately be on the alert if you don’t show up on time.

4. Take a friend to that first meeting
That way you’ve got some company if things don’t feel quite right. If the other person does really want to meet and to get to know you, they shouldn't be put off by your request to bring a friend along to your first date. It could be a double date.

5. Ask a friend to call or text you during the meet

In fact, make sure several people know where you are and at what time, and ask one of them to check in on you with a quick text or call. While it might seem rude to spend a long time on a phone call during your first date, a minute to check you’re OK is perfectly acceptable.

6. Choose a location you feel comfortable with
This may be somewhere near your home (but be careful about giving away your home address). Ideally, choose somewhere you’ve already visited on several occasions, so you know your way around and feel at ease there.

7. Talk before you meet

It’s really important to get a good sense of someone before meeting in person, and chatting online will only get you so far. A phone call, or better still a live video chat, will help you decide if you feel an affinity with the person. If they can’t do a video chat and you think it’s appropriate, you might want to ask them to take a selfie holding a sign with a message on it chosen by you. That way, you can be sure that they are who they say they are, and haven’t just grabbed a random profile photo from the internet.

8. Keep this first meeting fairly brief
A half-hour stroll around the park with your respective dogs would be a great first date. That way, if you find there’s no chemistry – or if you don’t feel at ease around the person – you don’t have the unwelcome prospect of hours in their company. Again, arranging to meet friends soon afterwards gives you the necessary get-out if things aren’t working. And, if the spark is there, there’ll be plenty more occasions to get to know each other better.

couple lying on a field with their dog in between

Pet insurance from Purely Pets: the perfect match

The companionship, playfulness and fun that dogs bring into our lives is hugely important. Indeed, many owners find that their relationship with their dog makes a huge difference to their mental health and quality of life.

Dogs, in short, are very special creatures and should be protected accordingly. Our specialist pet insurance policies will provide that crucial financial help when you need it most.

Why not get a quote for pet insurance today?