A documentary launched on UK free-to-air station Channel 4 has drawn ire from social media, with a petition to cancel the show garnering over 31,900 signatures.
The documentary in question, Train Your Baby Like a Dog, which sees psychologist and animal trainer Jo-Rosie Haffenden training babies with a treat reward system, clickers and the ‘SIT!’ command, has caused a division amongst Twitter users.
Watch the trailer for the show below.
While some viewers likened the documentary to abuse, others saw nothing wrong with the show and applauded the techniques.
One viewer tweeted: “I’m seriously concerned how close #trainyourbabylikeadog is to abuse. Appalling failure. Drs and MBE’s and professional who know what they are talking about have been trying to tell you for days how disgusting this is. @Channel4 is a joke.”
Another shared: “Our young children need secure attachments, adults to co-regulate with them, positive interactions, empathy, compassion and nurture. Serious questions to be asked around the ethics of this programme. Where is the respect for our bairns? #trainyourbabylikeadog.”
On the other hand, another viewer saw the show’s content in a different light, tweeting:
“I’ve always compared my kids to puppies in that they need lots of cuddles, love & attention, clear boundaries, discipline, regular meals & bedtimes, lots of fresh air & exercise. It works.”
Meanwhile, PACEY, the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years, released a statement condemning the show.
In a statement to Channel 4, PACEY wrote: “We are appalled that you have decided to commission “Train your baby like a dog” and to promote this potentially damaging and outdated pseudo-science to families.
“Our understanding of early child development is vast and to ignore this and promote a discredited approach is irresponsible. Whatever your thinking was when you commissioned this, it was wrong and you should not broadcast a programme that suggests children can be trained like a pet!”
PACT, the Professional Association of Canine Trainers also released a statement stating it in no way supported the show or its content.
“Sadly, we are once again faced with having to release a statement regarding an unethical and sensationalist dog training-related programme to be broadcast by a major commercial UK TV channel.
“Science-based methods of parenting have long moved on from the sole use of reward-based techniques and behaviourism. Whether morally acceptable or not – suggesting clicker training your baby or toddler to change his or her behaviour is not only a step backward, it ignores several important points.
“It is flawed and suggests a lack of understanding of current clinical animal behaviour science. In short, suggesting the use of a framework for changing behaviour in children which is already questionable in dogs is absurd.”
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