Guy Playing With His Labrador

When it comes to securing a date, a dog can be a guy’s greatest wingman. Let’s face it: What’s more endearing to a female dog owner than seeing a man cuddle with his best buddy or play fetch with his pooch at the park?

Some guys may be aware that their dog attracts women, while others may be oblivious, but a dog can definitely play the part of Cupid in connecting single pet lovers. Here's what women can learn about men from their relationships with their dogs.

He Lets His Dog Make the First Impression

A dog’s personality and breed says a lot about his owner, before the man ever says a word. I associate a man who owns a dog with positive character traits like openness, loyalty and compassion. Owning a dog also shows off a man's nurturing side, and how a man interacts with his dog can be an indicator of the type of husband and father he will be. In my opinion, a man who provides for all of his dog’s physical and emotional needs and shows kindheartedness in his interactions with his pet can be relied on to treat the people close to him with similar love. If he is responsible for his pet's needs — veterinary care, bathing, walks, play and picking up after his pooch — he’s also more likely to show similar responsibility in a relationship.

A man's dog breed preference may also disclose specific aspects of his personality. A study by UK psychologists found that breed preference is linked to character traits in people. Pet owners with herding dogs were more likely to be extroverts, while those with hounds tend to be more emotionally stable. Men with toy dogs were more likable and open to new experiences, men with sporting dogs were more agreeable and conscientious, and men with utility dogs, like the Shar Pei and Bulldog, were more extroverted.

He Uses His Dog to Ease Shyness — His and Yours

For both men and women, striking up a conversation with someone new can be intimidating. Having a dog in tow helps remove social barriers and makes it easier to break the ice. This tactic did not go unnoticed by my male roommates in college. They would beg to take my Pugs on walks around campus, largely because the amount of attention they received when the Pugs were present was unparalleled. Women would stop to pet the dogs and an instant connection between them and my male friends would be formed. And it's not just young single men who can benefit from having a dog — I’ve seen this work for men of all ages. One of my training clients, an eligible but rather bashful man of retirement age, has been given ample help by his beloved German Shepherd in striking up conversations and setting up dates with women he would otherwise be too reserved to approach.

He Uses His Dog to Get the First Date

It’s not uncommon for dogs to strike up a relationship with each other in the dog park or training class, and that can lead to an initial connection for their owners. Setting up a doggy play date is much less threatening, after all, than setting up a human date. When I was in San Francisco, I went to a dog-friendly bar; the environment was more open and relaxed than at a conventional bar and the focus was on the dogs, which made it easier to talk with new people. If there’s no doggy bar in your area, there are other similar options, such as dog-breed-specific meetups or group hikes. It's a natural step from doing an activity with your dog in a group setting to giving the same activity a try as a solo couple outing with your dogs.

Finally, we talk about dogs who warn us when someone isn't trustworthy or safe, but a dog may also let us know when a guy is a keeper. My friend Stephanie realized her boyfriend was "the one" because of her dog’s affinity for him. Her dog repeatedly scaled her 6-foot-high fence and ran three miles across town to wait on her boyfriend’s porch for him to come out of his house. “He knew it was right, before I did,” says Stephanie of her dog. Of course, once the couple married, her dog stopped his daring escapes, because he preferred to be at home with his beloved people.