The results of a new study show that pets mirror the physical movements of children in their households–sitting, running, or walking when they do. Following in their steps is an important way that dogs bond with our kids. In her summary of this research (originally published in Animal Cognition) for the New York Times, Gretchen Reynolds explains how moving with our pets solidifies emotional closeness. When humans dance or do other physical activities together, they experience a sense of intimacy and familiarity. The same is true for our animal companions. So walking, running, and playing with them deepens our emotional connections and strengthens the human-animal bond. Pets are more likely to mimic adults, but they also pay attention to how children move, too. As this study suggests, encouraging children to feed, walk, play, and interact with pets teaches both parties how to read one another’s body language. By having fun with their dogs, cats, and other animals, kids form strong, lasting relationships. See? Kids and pets really do go together like peanut butter and jelly.