A Shelter Volunteer’s Guide To Dog Dating

Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

March 14, 2016

You know the drill. You scan through pictures of potential mates. You see one you like. You arrange to meet. You’re nervous but excited. They arrive. They’re really cute. You smile at each other. And then, the big moment comes: he covers you in slobbery kisses. You’ve found them! Your true love!

At least, that’s the dream, right? Finding your perfect pup is a lot like finding your one true (human) love — which means it can often be challenging. I’ve recently spent a lot of time as a dog walker at a local shelter, and I’ve gotten to know the “singles scene” there quite well. If you’re looking to find and adopt the four-legged love of your life, then here is the typical cast of characters you’re likely to meet on your search:

1. The Older Man

the older man

He’s an experienced guy (sit and shake are old hat for him), he knows what he likes, and he is happy to please you. True, this bachelor might have gone a bit grey about the muzzle, but that just makes him more distinguished, don’t you think?

2. The Player

the player

She’s the pup who won’t stop giving you kisses, asking for hugs, and just generally making you feel special…until you see her rolling over for a belly rub for just about anyone with a hand. But remember: don’t hate the player, hate the game.

3. The Jock

As soon as you get together, he’s ready to run! It seems like it’s always time to catch a ball or chase a stick. Despite his love of exercise and the outdoors, he also loves you, too — and will happily enjoy a good snuggle after you’re both worn out.


4. The Possessive Pup


He can’t get enough of you. When you walk together, this guy will block your body with his, or grab your shoes so you’ll stop walking and pet him. He might growl a bit at strangers as they walk by, but that’s just his way of nicely warning them not to steal you away!

5. The Shy Girl

When you approach, she’s a little hesitant, so let her come to you. With a little patience, you’ll soon be amazed at what happens when she feels safe with you.

6. The “Bad” Boy

josh brown

You love a challenge. And this rambunctious roughhouser is no exception. Sure, he may be mischievous and walk around with that “devil may care” ‘tude, but that’s probably what you love most about him. And with a little obedience training, you’ll have this bad boy wrapped around your finger. If only human bad boys were that easy to reform. Sigh.

7. The Eager Achiever


This clever pup is ready to learn any trick you throw her way. No disability is too tough to overcome. No obstacle is too great. No dog is too aloof to befriend. She’s eager to please, with superior leash manners to boot.

8. Mr. or Mrs. Right


This is it. The One. The exact perfect partner that you’ve been waiting for. Even their flaws are somehow perfect. It’s a match made in dog heaven!


If you’re interested in meeting any of these canine characters, consider volunteering as a dog walker at your local shelter. Hey, you never know. You might fall in love. (I do. Every time.)

Featured image via @ronahc/Instagram

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Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

March 14, 2016

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