'The Best Dating Advice I've Ever Heard Is To Pick A Partner Like You'd Pick A Puppy'

Would you want the one that's just cute or the one that gives you their undivided attention?

Couple, dating, puppies, dating advice OlesyaNickolaeva, ViDl Studio / Shutterstock 

We’ve all heard various pieces of dating advice, but we’ve most likely never learned about this one. Despite its unpopularity, some people share that it is indeed effective and makes sense.

TikTok users claim that when you are seeking the ideal partner, you should go about it as if you were selecting a new puppy.

Initially, this advice may sound absurd. However, after hearing those who swear by the method’s reasoning, it does make a lot of sense, and could potentially save us from heartbreak and loneliness in the future.


Like choosing a puppy, it's wise to choose a partner that shows you the most affection — not just the cutest.

In a TikTok video posted by user @hermes.the.cynic, he explained the “best dating advice” he’s ever heard. “You should treat picking your partner like picking a puppy,” he said. “You don’t pick the coolest looking puppy or the spiffiest looking puppy, you pick the one that’s happiest to see you.”

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The man acknowledged that while “all puppies are cool,” you are most likely going to pick the one who clearly admires you the most, licking your face and wagging their tail whenever you walk into a room.




Like picking a dating partner, attractiveness and physical appearance are factors that most of us consider, with some of us admitting to choosing a partner simply based on their attractive looks.

However, that can't be the whole package. Love is not all about looks, and with time, physical appearance can deteriorate, and the relationship may fizzle out.

You could meet someone who possesses the qualities of a great partner, including giving the utmost, undivided attention when you are together and being excited to see you, but they may lack the attractiveness that you desire.


Everyone’s needs and expectations in a relationship are different; however, those who tend to have strong, long-lasting relationships are those who enjoy spending time together, support and encourage one another, and trust and respect one another.

Like romantic partners, a puppy may be cute, but they may be nothing more than that. 

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Other people believe that, like choosing a puppy, you want to go with a partner who is curious and intrigued by you. 

Tess (@itstesstok) had a different approach when it comes to dating using the selecting a puppy method. 

“Choosing a partner is like choosing a puppy,” she said. She explained that when she was younger, her father taught her that when choosing the right puppy, you’ll want to clap your hands loudly around the litter to get their attention. 


According to Tess’s father, the advice he gave her is that she did not want the puppies who ran away at the sound of her clapping since they are “too scared” of her, she did not want the puppies who ran toward her at the sound her clapping since they were “too brave” — she wanted to pick the puppies who were not scared or brave, but heard her clapping and were simply curious and intrigued by the sound.

“When you think about the partnerships that are really, really, really, successful, they are the ones where you go, ‘Hey, look at that bird!’ and they engage with you,” Tess says. 



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Tess is referring to a relationship study conducted by New York psychologist John Gottman known as “the bird-bid theory.” Curious to learn more about how married couples interacted with one another, Gottman invited 130 newlywed couples to a lab on the University of Washington campus that resembled a bed and breakfast retreat. Gottman disclosed his findings to The Atlantic

During the duration of the study, Gottman observed some significant behaviors between couples that would either make or break their relationship in the future. Throughout the day, couples would make requests for connections, something that Gottman called “bids.” 

For example, a husband who is a bird enthusiast notices a goldfinch fly across the yard. He might say to his wife, “Look at that beautiful bird outside!” The husband is not just commenting on the bird. He is requesting a response from his wife — a sign of interest or support — hoping they’ll connect, however momentarily, over the bird. 

“The wife now has a choice. She can respond by either ‘turning toward’ or ‘turning away’ from her husband. Though the bird-bid might seem minor and silly, it can actually reveal a lot about the health of the relationship. The husband thought the bird was important enough to bring it up in conversation and the question is whether his wife recognizes and respects that.” 


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Those who “turned toward” their partners, just as curious as they were about the bird, were more likely to have a lasting marriage. Those who turned away and were uninterested in the bird were more likely to have their marriages fail. 

According to Gottman’s research, couples who had divorced after a six-year follow-up only had "turn-toward bids" 33% of the time. The couples who were still together after six years had "turn-toward bids" 87% of the time. Nine times out of 10, they were meeting their partner’s emotional needs. 


Just like choosing a puppy, you want a partner who is intrigued by your interests instead of running away from them or shutting them out. 

“I feel like this is such a good way of looking at partnerships,” Tess said of her father’s advice and Gottman’s study. “Who’s gonna run away from you, who’s gonna be aggressively running toward you... and who’s gonna be curious and intrigued and listen.” 

Although there are no studies that confirm you should approach dating as if you were picking out a puppy for successful results, it wouldn’t hurt to apply the advice for future dating. 

It is important to keep in mind that everyone’s ideal puppy and partner choices are different, and some may pick the cute and aggressive ones over the curious and affectionate ones.

However, a cute puppy may be the one to destroy your home and belongings if you turn your back and ignore their behavior for even a second. 


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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.