Thursday 11 August 2022

Small dogs beat cats when looking for love

I am afraid that this is something that domestic cats can't really do very well or hardly at all: walk on a lead with a man! How often do you see that? Almost zero is the answer but research from the University of Jaen in Spain indicates that men who are unlucky in love might have a solution in the shape of a pint-sized pooch.

Orlando Bloom looks safe to women! Photo: WireImage. On July 16th 2020 it was reported that he was heartbroken about the loss of his dog.

Scientists in Spain found in a study involving 300 women that when they looked at men with small dogs, they were perceived as being less intimidating and threatening. The women said that they felt "more in control, safer, and calmer" when around men with small dogs. It appears that big dogs don't do the same thing which is unsurprising seeing as the kind of men who like big dogs are probably quite big (or aggressive?) themselves and, in any case, big dogs are intimidating.

The female participants in this study were showed a range of photographs of men and women on their own or with a small dachshund dog or a medium-sized Portuguese podengo-like mixed breed dog.

They were shown two types of photograph. In one, the context was positive i.e. a well-lit urban space in the daytime. In the other the context was negative being a dimly lit quiet street at night. The participants were asked to imagine they were alone and that the person was walking towards them.

When those people who were walking towards them were accompanied by a dog, either small or medium-sized, the participants responded more positively than when they were alone.

The researchers said that:

"The small dog prompts more positive emotional reactivity and higher levels of safety than the medium-sized dogs in most emotional contexts, pointing out that emotional and safety benefits from dog presence might also be related to size."

One of the study authors, Raphael Delgado, suggested that the presence of a dog would indicate that a man was nurturing and capable of caregiving which made them less threatening in the eyes of the female participants.

He also said that a dog's presence "promotes a sense of safety". And even in intimidating and frightening settings such as a dimly lit street the presence of a dog had a soothing effect.

Sadly, this is where dogs outdo cats. As I recall, when women see men with cats, they think they are gay or weak. Perhaps I have exaggerated but it is something like that.

Hannah Betts of The Times writes amusingly about her boyfriend's experiences when walking with their whippet. She says that their whippet increased her boyfriend's allure from their very first outing. She said:

"As she danced around the park like a tiny gray form, women of all ages charged from every corner, shouldering me out of the way to pay homage to man and pup. Later, when she became tired, Terence had to carry her up the Kings Road tucked into his Barbour. Cue a conga line of fainting Sloanes."

Clearly, for Hannah Betts's boyfriend, Terence, the small dog works wonders if a man is looking for love.

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