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Three Reasons Why Kids Should Know Animal Body Language

dog girl

In psychologist Elizabeth Anderson’s book The Powerful Bond Between People and Pets, she wrote that “Nothing less than alchemy is involved when animals and children get together, and the resulting magic has healing properties that work well.” 

Nurturing the relationship between animals and kids could bring many positive outcomes, but before these fruitful relationships could blossom, adults in kids’ lives – parents, teachers, and school leaders should guide these children in understanding the language animals use. Here are the three reasons why.  


Many animal incidents like dog bites and cat scratches could easily be avoided if only the kids were aware of emotional state and the warning signs animals exhibit when they are distressed or overly excited – like snarling, lip licking, crouched body postures, etc.   

These accidents usually happen at family’s houses, friends’, relatives’, and even around the school.  

In fact, according to the 2021-2022 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), seventy percent of U.S. households, or about 90.5 million families, own a pet. Not taking into account the strays and the animals in the shelters.  

To put it into perspective, 7 out of 10 households own a pet. Although it is ultimately the homeowner’s responsibility to monitor and avoid this kind of situation, it is never a bad thing to teach these children to pay attention to the stress signals in the facial expressions and body language of the animal to keep them safe. 

Respect Boundaries 

The benefits of understanding and identifying an animal’s body language don’t stop with safety.  

As they begin to become aware of the effects of their presence and action on an animal, students will learn to respect boundaries. They will learn how to control their impulses, and this behavior could also carry over to other areas of their social interactions.  

It helps them think about what others might be feeling. It is a way to help students why it’s important to follow the rules working both ways. Animals are in charge of their bodies even though they don’t speak out like humans do; it’s not okay to force an interaction with them, just like it’s not okay for someone to touch them in a way they don’t like. 

Better Communicator  

Animals don’t speak as humans do. That is why people rely on reading animals’ body language to assess their emotional states. Teaching these to students could spill over their social interactions and make them become better communicators overall.   

How? Animal’s like dog’s body language is focused on nonverbal cues. Learning these kinds of cues through observing could improve their social skills.  

This encourages the students to be more sensitive to the changes in the body language of who they are interacting with. Recognizing these cues demonstrates the importance of nonverbal communication because it can help pick up unspoken feelings or intentions. Body language is believed to account for about half of what we are trying to say or communicate. 



Knowing animal body language – be it a dog’s behavior, cat’s temperaments, or other animals – contributes to students’ overall development. From their safety to building their character and improving their social skills. That’s why it is important for school leaders to implement programs that will equip these young children with the knowledge that will make their interactions with animals like dogs and cats safe and meaningful. 


Here at Little Medical School, we run a unique program called Little Veterinary School, where students could role-play as veterinarians. They will not only learn to identify the animal body but also learn how to perform a nose-to-tail exam, the importance of proper nutrition, and perform a tick check.  


All programs are written by experienced educators, board-certified physicians, and trained healthcare professionals. Our classes are led by trained Little Medical School ® Instructors. 


If you are interested, please contact Michael Fay ( – the Franchisee of Little Medical School in your area – so you can discuss bringing this class to your community. 


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