If you’ve decided you’re looking for a serious, long-term partner, one of the best ways to get ready for a relationship is to get a pet. You could get a cat, dog, or any other pet, but getting a dog is going to be the best, savviest route to achieving your goal. You’ll understand why in a moment!
Why is getting a dog helpful? It practically goes without saying that dogs require a lot of care and consistency. If you are a good parent to that dog, you must constantly be thinking about that dog’s needs. I work with some men and women in their 20s, for example, and they are simply not ready for a dog. On any given weekend, they may be meeting friends for a long brunch and then hit the movies or try some other activity afterward. With a dog, you aren’t free to indulge every social whim, and you need to be home a fair amount of time in order for the dog to be happy. Having a dog keeps your schedule predictable and reliable, and this reliability is an important foundation when you are trying to find a serious relationship.
The importance of commitment. Because having a dog is a big commitment, you will be focused on something other than yourself, and this is a very positive consequence. Men and women who have dogs are more comfortable with commitment, so any time you meet a new date who has a dog, understand what a powerful, positive trait that is in your new date.
Being comfortable with dependence. If you meet someone who has a dog, you can also infer that this individual is comfortable with someone or something depending on them. I hear so many people say that they could never handle the responsibility of a dog, or that they have no interest in having to be home at a certain time to feed or take the dog out to go to the bathroom. These people may not be selfish, but they also may not be ready for a person to depend on them or require commitments from them, either. But having a dog is a great practice run at having a serious relationship because it forces you to think about the feelings of that dog, and it will be a lot easier to commit to a person once you have gotten used to committing to a pet.
The social and dating benefits of having a dog. If you’re single and you have a dog, you already know about the benefits. You know that you meet new people when you take the dog for walks, and you know that there are plenty of dog parks where you can meet and chat with other dog people. When you have a dog and you are single, take that pup out so much that you run he or she ragged! Rotate the parks you visit, and rotate the times of day when you go to maximize your chances of seeing fresh faces.
Yes, dogs are expensive – but it’s doable! One of the challenges with having a dog is that they are some pricey animals to care for! Paying for occasional doggy day care, a dog walker, occasional boarding, and food and treats adds up. At the same time, remember that having a dog means that you will also be spending quality time at home – not out spending mindless money. The vast majority of men and women can afford a dog. Think of it as making an investment: You are investing in something that will help prepare you for a relationship. When the right person walks through the door, you want to be sure that you are ready for commitment.
The most important benefit of having a dog has to do with your mood. Yes, getting a dog builds a great bridge to finding a relationship, but the real benefit of having a dog is that having an animal to love and love you back has a profound effect on your mood. Sometimes your dog will calm you, and sometimes your dog will put a smile on your face and lighten your mood. Never forget that being in the right mood has everything to do with meeting someone new!
About the Author:
Dr. Seth is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, Psychology Today blogger, and TV guest expert. He practices in Los Angeles and treats a wide range of issues and disorders and specializes in relationships, parenting, and addiction. He has had extensive training in conducting couples therapy and is the author of Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve