With the proliferation of dating websites of every imaginable type, single folks have never had more options for finding romance. However, a growing number of singles seem to be falling back on a tried-and-true method of attracting members of the desired sex – getting a dog. At least, that’s one interpretation of a recent survey published by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
The annual AVMA report contains detailed pet ownership demographics based on a survey of over 50,000 households. It found that pet ownership among single men has increased by 28 percent since 2006. In the same time period, it increased by a similarly impressive 22 percent among single women. Meanwhile, pet ownership among families stayed mostly flat.
For most single pet owners, it’s about the love and companionship of the animals themselves. However, getting a dog is a wonderfully old-school method of meeting people. While cute little pooches have often been described as “chick magnets,” they can be guy magnets as well. Here are some of the ways dogs pave the way for romance:
- Dogs are outdoorsy pets that encourage you to get out into public places such as dog parks (unlike cats, who are associated with reclusive old ladies)
- Dogs are walking conversation starters – people who know your dog’s breed, or just have an interest in it, often feel at ease approaching you
- Dogs are social and mingle easily with people and other dogs, sometimes forcing you to interact when you would have been too chicken to break the ice yourself
- Dogs are natural stress relievers – petting a dog is relaxing and gives you something to do while you’re trying to think of what to say next
- Pet ownership is a signal of trustworthiness for many people, who feel that “you can’t be all bad” if you have a dog
- Taking your dog for a walk advertises your compatibility with other dog people, just like a “Must Love Dogs” qualification in the personals
Of course, if you don’t really like dogs, getting one just to meet chicks or dudes would be insane. Taking care of a pet is a lot of work, and you won’t fool anyone anyway. True dog lovers can tell when someone is faking it.
Torn between getting a dog and signing up for a dating website? Hey, nowhere does it say you can’t do both. You can flirt at the dog park by day, and in front of a computer screen by night. Or you can wrap it all together by registering with one of several dating sites that specialize in – you guessed it – matching up fellow dog lovers.