How to Avoid the Online Dating Dog-Fishing Trap

selfie with dog

While online dating can be a wonderful way to meet new people, it also comes with it’s own set of dangerous trends.

First there was catfishing, which is what happens when someone you meet online is not a real person at all, but actually someone trying to scam you.

Then came kitten-fishing, which is basically just a lot of exaggerating in online dating to get more positive attention from potential mates.

But now there’s dog-fishing.

This is a new dating trend that’s becoming more and more popular these days. People will borrow a dog from someone they know and take pictures of themselves with it for their online dating profile picture.

On the surface, this might not sound like it’s necessarily a very big deal. Of all the scams one can encounter via online dating, this seems fairly innocent at first glance.

But dog-fishing is actually kind of disturbing for a few different reasons.

What are your online dating priorities?

cute dog

What are most people looking for when they search for a potential match in online dating?

The answer to this question can probably vary quite a bit between single Catholics and those of a more secular worldview.

But apparently for a lot of people, finding a profile picture of a person with a dog is enough to make them immediately interested.

There’s nothing in and of itself wrong with people loving dogs and wanting to date a fellow dog-lover. But the fact that this is common enough to be an essential element of a popular dating trend right now speaks volumes about today’s dating priorities.

Shared interests with a date are great. They can eventually lead to a deep bond, and they can certainly give two people something to start a conversation with if nothing else.

But why is a mutual love of animals the trending topic right now? Animals are wonderful, but what about excitement over finding someone who shares  values, faith, or a desire to discern a vocation?

How important are pets?

cute pets

Some people love animals. Then, there are some people who really love animals. They may even devote more love and attention to their pets than to their human relationships.

One of the most obvious ways we see this these days is when people call their pets their “babies,” or refer to themselves as “dog moms” or the like.

Having pets is not the same as having children, even if you do find a measure of joy and fulfillment from owning a pet. Deciding to date someone because you think their dog is cute might not be the soundest criteria when it comes to picking out a date.

Being interested in someone’s pet or their love of animals should be grouped in the category shared interests. Again, shared interests are good. But those interests shouldn’t rank above things like a shared faith, or even a shared set of moral values.

A question of honesty

dog fishing

One big issue to focus on when it comes to dog-fishing is the fact that those posting the fake dog pictures of themselves are not presenting themselves honestly.

It’s not too different from the person who posts an old picture of themselves to seem more appealing online. Neither of these things is an obvious, blatant lie.

But they’re also not completely honest.

So as Catholics, should we be dog-fishing in our online dating profiles if we happen to love dogs but not own one? No. Mentioning how much you love dogs in your profile would be a better route to go.

What do we do if we find ourselves on the other side of the equation? Maybe the person we met online admits to us that the dog in their pictures was not their dog. While it doesn’t have to be an instant deal-breaker, it should definitely be a warning sign to consider how honest they are in other areas of their life.

The remedy for the dog-fishing trend

dog fishing

All things created by God are good. But that doesn’t mean that all of us necessarily view the things he created in their proper place.

Animals are here to serve us and make us happy. But there is often an over-excitement, an over-zealous commitment to being a pet owner in our modern society.

Love of pets needs to be put in its proper place in our minds and hearts. It’s something that can be helpful or enjoyable, but it shouldn’t be a life-goal or something we arrange everything else around.

So look deeper than the picture with the cute dog. Check you first instinct and ask whether the person seems to share your values, your morals, and your commitment to your faith.

Even if you’re not being dog-fished at all and that person you’re interested in really does own a cute dog, that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily a good match for you.