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Dogfishing is the latest millennial dating trend to take over the internet, and you’ve almost definitely had it happen to you

Posted by
Lauren Geall
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Dogfishing: the latest millennial dating trend

Did that sausage dog photo catch your attention? You could be at risk of being caught by the latest millennial dating trend, dogfishing…

No matter how much we feign being tired when we hear of the latest millennial dating term to make its way around the internet, we’re still just as obsessed.

From soft ghosting and cuffing to benching and orbiting, dating in the 21st century is a mindfield of terminology and trends – and perhaps one of the most frustrating is the internet’s latest term: dogfishing.

That’s right, the latest dating terminology involves man (and woman)’s best friend – and it’s probably something you’ve seen done before, even if you haven’t realised it.

The premise is simple. Dogfishing refers to a situation when someone posts pictures of themselves with a cute dog on their dating profile, which lures potential matches to strike up a conversation with that person, only to find out the dog isn’t actually theirs. Essentially, people are borrowing dogs so they seem more attractive online – and then dropping the bombshell that they don’t actually own the dog once they’ve got the chance to know you.

Dogfishing
Dogfishing: Those puppy dog eyes will get you every time.

Dogfishing is nothing new: it’s been going on in the background of dating app interactions across the world for a while now, and it doesn’t show any signs of stopping.

As long as we love dogs (aka forever) there will be dating app profiles using their adorable faces and wagging tails to grab our attention.

Why are people doing this, then? Because research has shown that people tend to find dog owners more attractive, of course. Oh yes: besides the fact that we are a nation of dog lovers, we’re apparently more attracted to people who own dogs because it leads us to make positive judgements about their behaviour and personality.

One particular study conducted in 2008 found that having a dog vastly increased the number of women willing to give a man their number. And another study also showed that women were more likely to see men with dogs as potential “long-term” material – because they believed dog owners to be better providers and nurturers.

A final study that asked volunteers to rate people based on their photographs showed that they were more likely to see someone as happier, safer and more relaxed when they appeared alongside a dog.

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“Having a dog really says something about you,” Dr Helen Fisher, a senior research fellow at the Kinsey Institute and a chief adviser at Match.com, previously told The New York Times. “It says you can care for a creature, that you can follow a schedule and get home to feed it, that you can walk it and love it and spend time with it.”

And even if you’ve never been on a dating app, don’t count yourself safe just yet. Just the other day I received a dogfishing e-mail from a colleague, and I’m afraid (and also delighted) to say it worked. In an attempt to catch draw my attention to their business proposal, the sender had attached a photo of their dog at the top – and I was immediately intrigued.

There’s no denying that it’s hard to resist a small fluffy face and a pair of puppy dog eyes, but next time a sausage dog called Ralph pops up on your dating app, think twice before you swipe right – you might end up sorely disappointed.

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Images: Unsplash

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Lauren Geall

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