When you’re looking for a new special someone to let into your life, you must be selective. Believe it or not, researchers say adopting a dog is like dating.
So don’t get too caught up in the superficial. Regardless of your preference, you need to make sure your new dog has more than just fresh breath and a great looking coat.
After all, you could be spending the rest of your lives together. You need to make sure that you connect on a deeper level than just through appearance.
Whether or not you agree with similarities between the two, science has had its say. A study published in the journal Behavior Research Methods has found that adopting a dog is like dating.
Identify what you want
Dr. Samantha Cohen, who ran the study, made an interesting point: “Someone can still adopt a dog who fits their true preferences and makes them happy, but those preferences wouldn’t match what they told researchers.”
As an example, she cites potential owners who change their minds about adopting a puppy. “I like to give this example: Someone might walk into a pet shelter initially wanting a young dog, but after playing with a few, quickly realize they don’t have enough time for all that energy and instead seek out a senior (dog) who needs less exercise.”
So, what you think you’re looking for, and what you’re looking for in a dog can be two different things. Often when it comes to a dog, people want an attractive, friendly dog that matches a breed they choose.
This kind of selection process is common in dating, but is it the right approach to take? Let’s take a look at a few ways that adopting a dog is like dating.
Understand relationship baggage
The chance to give a dog a much-needed home is just one of the reasons for adopting a dog. When you choose a dog, especially one that has been returned to a shelter, understand the dog may have behavioral issues related to how it was treated in the past. If your dog is timid, or even scared of people, this could be the sign of a previous abusive owner.
Dating is similar; people who had unfaithful partners in the past often find trust issues complicate future relationships. Whether you’re adopting a dog or dating someone new, the way they were treated in the past can have a significant impact on your relationship.
Recognize warning signs
Dating also is like being in a job interview. The first few dates offer your chance to assess the character of the person in front of you. That said, you can’t judge how someone acts on a date to translate to their behavior when in a relationship.
The same principle applies when it comes to adopting a dog. When you visit a dog in the shelter, the fact they’re playful and energetic could easily prove destructive when you get them home. You also could mistake excitement for dangerous or aggressive puppy warning signs.
The critical similarity here between dating and adopting dogs here is that initial warning signs can easily be overlooked or misunderstood. The dog you see at the shelter may be very different from the dog you bring home.
Control first date nerves
Have you ever had that nervous first date feeling? Perhaps you’re the type of person that kicks yourself after saying the wrong thing, or wishes you’d thought to say something else.
Unfortunately, nerves can make us behave abnormally, and the same principle can apply when you adopt a dog.
People often tend to go for the dog that runs right up to them, and this is understandable. That’s not to say that the quiet dog in the corner can’t offer the same friendly and welcoming nature. The dog could be shy.
The shelter doesn’t offer all dogs the best opportunity to shine. The takeaway point is that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, always remember the role nerves can play in new interactions.
Create your happy ending
The final similarity that we’ll draw is the fact that bringing the right dog or person into your life can bring you endless happiness.
Everyone goes through highs and lows with both dogs and dating. Once you find your forever mate, you’ll look back on the adoption (or dating) process with fond memories.
The important thing is to be open-minded and enjoy the journey.
Living happily ever after
Adopting a dog is a beautiful way to give a dog a new home, and make life happier for both of you.
Although we’re not dating experts, here’s some advice for adopting a dog that we feel is also applicable to dating. Understanding and considering your dog’s past is key to realizing the reasons for its behaviors today.
Try to remember that what you think you’re looking for, and what you’re looking for, can be two very different things. With a well-thought-out selection process, you can end up with a companion for life!