Q: I have a pet dog – will that change how women view me?
A: Far from hurting your chances at love, research supports the view that dogs may actually help attract women to you.
- A study was published in the journal Anthrozoös in 2008 on the role of dogs in “facilitating human interactions.” The journal publishes all kinds of research on how animals and humans interact.
- Previous research noted some very interesting things about people and animals.
- The presence of a dog has been shown to:
- Reduce aggression in people with dementia
- Promote social interactions
- Make people more likely to say hi in public
- Make people more likely to interact with a disabled person
- So this naturally leads us to the next obvious question. Can a pet dog help a dude get a woman’s phone number?
- We answer the questions that matter!
- First, the researchers just wanted to see whether having a dog made a person more approachable if he was asking for money.
- The researchers chose a 22-year old male of medium height and weight to stand in a public mall with a dog.
- He was dressed neatly but casually: jeans, sneakers, t-shirt.
- The dog was a mixed breed, black dog that was medium size and weight.
- The dog was chosen due to a mild, pleasant temperament.
- The man was instructed to approach individual people (walking alone) randomly in a variety of ways:
- Approach with a dog
- Approach without a dog
- Approach men
- Approach women
- The man’s job was to ask people for money to take the bus. He used the following script:
- “Sorry Madam/Sir, would you have some money so that I can catch the bus, please?”
- If the person agreed to help him with bus fare, he waited to see how much money they gave him, and then gave it back and explained that it was for an experiment.
- When the man had NO dog, 11.3% of people agreed to help him with bus fare.
- When the man HAD a dog, 35% of people agreed to help him.
- When he had a dog, people were also willing to give more.
- The average amount for the dog condition was $0.31, while the average amount for the no-dog condition was $0.26.
Therefore, having a dog made people more willing to help, and more willing to give a larger amount.
- Having a dog made people more willing to help a guy catch the bus. The experimenters then did the same procedure, except with a 21-year-old female.
- Everything else was the same.
- We don’t have to get into the gritty details, but the results were very similar. The main difference is that men were much more likely to help the female catch the bus than women were (not too surprising).
- No dog: 26% of people were willing to give money, and the average amount was $0.31.
- With dog: 51% of people were willing to give money, and the average amount was $0.47.
Once again, having a dog made the woman seem more approachable and people were willing to help her with more money.
- In this study, the same man from Experiment 1 was instructed to stand alone in a bus stop and wait for the bus.
- He waited in the bus stop until he was alone with another person. Then, he pulled out a handkerchief and “accidentally” dropped some coins on the ground.
- An observer watched from a distance and recorded whether the other person bent down and helped him pick up the coins from the ground.
- The man repeated the experiment with a dog, and without a dog.
- No dog: 57.5% of people helped the man pick up the change.
- With dog: 87.5% of people helped the man.
Yet again, having a dog made people more willing to help the man.
- Here’s where it finally gets into courtship and attractiveness. This experiment was a bit more complicated to make sure all the variables were controlled.
- A 20-year-old man who was independently rated as attractive was chosen to approach women on the street.
- He wore the same clothing as the man in Experiment 1: jeans, t-shirt, sneakers.
- The man was then instructed to say to each woman: “Hello, my name’s Antoine. I just want to say that I think you’re really pretty. I have to go to work this afternoon, but I was wondering if you would give me your phone number. I’ll phone you later and we can have a drink together someplace.”
- The resulting conversations were recorded.
- If the woman complied with giving him her phone number, he was then instructed to explain the purpose of the experiment and give the woman an information sheet about how to contact the laboratory if they had any questions.
- Did having a dog make a difference in how many women gave the man her phone number? Yep!
- No dog: 9.2% of women gave the man her phone number.
- With dog: 28.3% of women gave the man her phone number.
- Having a dog increased the man’s success almost by over a factor of three!
- What’s the take away from this study?
- Having a dog seemed to make people more approachable.
- If you have a dog, people will be more generous, more helpful, and more willing to go on a date with you.
- Why is this the case? It could be that people simply like dogs. It could be that this liking of dogs also extends to dog owners. It could also be the case that a person with a dog may seem more nurturing and responsible – traits that are necessary to take care of a dog.
- But the message is clear. Have a dog, and you will seem more datable and approachable to women.
Gueguen, N. (2008). Domestic dogs as facilitators in social interaction: An evaluation of helping and courtship behaviors. Anthrozoos, 21(4), 339-349. Link: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.2752/175303708X371564?src=recsys