By Zoe Bradbury
You’re on a late-night Tinder swiping session, looking for love, or maybe just a one-night stand to fill in the time on this uneventful Friday night. Up pops “Charlie”, a cute blond. But what’s even cuter is the Golden Labrador he’s posing with, tongue and tail wagging.
You swipe right, excited about the thought of potential puppy dates, and send Charlie a quick message.
“Hey! The way to my heart is a cute dog with a cute owner, and you’ve nailed it. Let me walk your dog please (and you come along for the journey as well)”
He replies, and you open the message eagerly with butterflies flapping away in your stomach.
“Hey, thanks! Would love to meet up sometime. The dog is my friends though, will I be enough company?”
Your heart sinks, and confusion ensues. You swiped right for a man and his dog, but yet the dog isn’t even… his?
You’ve been reeled in, hook line and chew toy to the newest sneaky dating trend that’s doing the rounds on dating apps worldwide. Sound familiar? You’ve just been dogfished.
While the term sounds similar to the illegal catfishing, which involves a user pretending they’re someone they’re not, dogfishing isn’t illegal. And although it’s cute, it is slightly immoral.
Urban Dictionary defines dogfishing as “when someone on a dating app uses pictures of themselves with their friends’ dogs and makes it seem like the dogs are theirs.” It’s all in the attempt to attract the other person and gain that coveted right-swipe that could lead to the partner of your dreams.
While some men may genuinely be posing with their own dog, or just thought the photo was a cute picture of themselves, uploading a photo with a pet does have a surprising impact on attracting women.
A 2015 study published in Anthrozoös: The Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions Of People And Animals, found that “women will place more value on how a potential mate interacts with their pet than will single men.” Conducted from the responses of over 1,200 match.com users in the United States, the study revealed that if someone had a pet, women were more than twice as likely to be attracted to them.
Further, an additional survey conducted by Match.com found that 72% of women said the “hottest pet a man could own” was a dog.
But why does this trend impact women more? It comes down to our basic reproductive tendencies. In terms of evolutionary theory, women place a greater emphasis on finding a partner that will be a caring, suitable parent.
As such, if a man can look after a dog, it “may be a better measure of a potential mate’s caregiving capacity”, says Peter Gray, lead author of the study. In a way, it makes sense: if a guy can feed, walk and groom a dog, surely those caregiving tendencies could be transferred over to children? It’s something that gets the ovaries tingling in many women, hence the Instagram account @hotdudeswithdogs amassing over 460,000 followers.
So, is dogfishing an issue we need to worry about? Well, if a guy is only using his friends’ dog as potential hook-up bait, then maybe some caution should be exerted –they’ve got one thing on their mind, and they’re willing to do anything to get it.
But hey, the online dating arena is a dog eat dog world, and sometimes, you’ve got to do something that’ll make you stand out.
There’s definitely worse things to worry about in the dating world, such as catfishing, breadcrumbing and these other dating terms you may not have heard of.
Dogfishing may be a sneaky new dating trend designed to lure you in with the promise of a furry-friend, but if you’re only swiping right because of a dog in a picture, then maybe put Tinder down and sign up for MadPaws, a pet sitting website, instead.
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