LOVE can be found thanks to taking your dog for a walk, according
to findings by scientists a body of men and women not
normally associated with romance, writes Nick Mays.
According to a report published last week, the sure-fire way to find your perfect partner and lasting love is to take your dog for a walk in the park.
Academics at Warwick University claimed that people who walked their dog in a park were more likely to meet a future partner there than anywhere else.
June McNicholas, a health psychologist, said having a dog could increase your chance of getting "chatted up" by up to 1,000 per cent. "Having a dog is the perfect ice-breaker," said Miss McNicholas, who conducted trials with dog owners in the West Midlands.
She sent a number of people out to go about their daily outdoor routines, half of them with a dog and half without. In addition, 52 dog owners and 43 non dog owners were asked to list all the people with whom they had some level of social contact in a four-week period.
The research showed that 40 per cent of dog owners said that they made friends easily as a result of having a dog.
"We found that just having a dog, regardless of how the owner looked, would increase the chance of someone talking to them by over 1,000 per cent," said Miss McNicholas. "People often find it difficult to break the ice with a stranger; the dog is the perfect way to start a conversation.
"If somebody just walks up to a stranger and starts talking then it can make them feel like their space is being invaded. But with a dog the conversation can be directed about the animal."
She said having a dog gave the signal that you were a kindly person. "If a man is seen by a woman walking a dog then it sends the message that this man is nice enough to care for an animal. It automatically makes you come across as a kind person. And it doesn't matter what the owner looks like."
Miss McNicholas added: "If somebody wants to meet a partner then they should take their dog to a local park. It's the ideal place to meet people - as long as you have a dog."
Men are advised to get a Dalmatian because "they are big but attractive dogs and don't look too imposing". Women would do well walking a Labrador or Golden Retriever.
Those who have benefited from being dog owners include the television presenter Davina McCall, who met her husband, Matthew Robinson, while they were walking their pets in a London park.
Have YOU ever found romance thanks to your dog either when out walkies or at a dog show? Drop Nick Mays a line at the usual OUR DOGS editorial address of e-mail him at: ChiefReporter@aol.com