What Is Dogfishing? Why Dating App Users Are Pretending to Own Dogs

Stop borrowing other people's dogs

Please resist the urge to swipe right on this dog

Even the most discerning dating app user has a few weaknesses that will almost guarantee they right swipe someone. Some of us will swipe right on just about anyone who works in a certain industry, while others won’t risk passing up the chance to match with someone who says they’re “looking for a relationship,” and some of us will swipe right on anyone with the same name as our most recent ex so it’s that much easier to bring them up inappropriately on the first date. For what seems to be a vast majority of dating app users, however, all it takes to guarantee a right swipe is a profile pic with a dog.

Unfortunately for all those dog lovers secretly swiping for the pup of their dreams, a picture with a dog does not a dog owner make. According to a recent Washington Post article, “dogfishing” is a growing trend in which dating app users post photos with other people’s dogs in order to capitalize on the pet’s pick-up prowess.

A clever spin on catfishing, in which a dating app user pretends to be someone they’re not, dogfishing is admittedly far less sinister behavior. As the Washington Post‘s Terry Nguyen notes, dogfishing isn’t technically lying. But when an individual posts a photo with a dog without explicitly clarifying that they do not in fact own that dog — a qualifier you’ll never catch a man leaving out of any pictures he posts with his friends’ babies — matches who swiped right on a presumed dog owner may end up feeling misled.

The solution? “Stop borrowing dogs,” said Erika Ettin, an online dating coach in Washington. “It’s just odd when you’re using someone else’s dog online, and it seems like you’re trying too hard.”

Then again, this might be a two-way street. If you’re disappointed in your date because they don’t own a dog, maybe you were — to borrow a common Bachelor accusation — there for the wrong reasons? It might be weird to pretend to own a dog you don’t have, but it’s also pretty weird to try to date someone else’s dog, so let’s all just go back to making matches specifically on the basis of how closely they resemble your ex and/or whether or not you think they might have a nicer apartment than yours.

Editor’s Note: RealClearLife, a news and lifestyle publisher, is now a part of InsideHook. Together, we’ll be covering current events, pop culture, sports, travel, health and the world. Subscribe here for our free daily newsletter.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.