Nonverbal communication routinely crosses between species. Animal lovers know this from a young age. However a recent study in the "Journal of Nursing, Social Studies and Public Health" illuminates a primary reason for dog bites in youth - children not accurately understanding a dog's body language. The research, out of the University of South Bohemia in the Czech Republic, goes on to quantify the accurate framing of dogs' different emotional states at surprisingly very low rates by elementary school children as follows:
Children also have a false sense of security when it comes to their ability to control a dog's behavior - believing that their family pet obeys them more than their parents. This overconfidence was found to be more pronounced in boys, who were also less accurate than girls at properly identifying dogs' emotions. In the 5 to 9 year age group, boys are bitten twice as much as girls.
Intriguingly, people who grow up around animals, particularly dogs and horses, acquire an increased ability to accurately interpret other humans' body language once they reach adulthood and throughout the remainder of their lives.
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