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19 August 2019, 11:01 | Updated: 19 August 2019, 12:18
An online petition has called for Channel 4’s Train Your Baby Like a Dog to be pulled.
A new Channel 4 programme which teaches parents how to train their children like dogs has attracted controversy this week.
Train Your Baby Like a Dog is set to air on Tuesday evening (20 August at 8pm) and is fronted by animal behaviourist Jo-Rosie Haffenden.
In the hour-long documentary, Jo-Rosie uses her dog training techniques with three-year-old Greydon who has “daily tantrums and violent outbursts”, as well as 18-month-old Dulcie who refuses to sleep in her own cot.
The expert applies methods such as “clicker training” - typically used to teach dogs to follow commands - which she claims will help “motivate kids”.
The release explains: "Jo-Rosie wants exhausted parents to turn their backs on discipline, and the naughty-step and instead embrace positive dog training for children.”
Jo-Rosie added: “If everyone parented their child the same way we’re training our dogs, we’d end up with much more caring and compassionate human beings.”
However, concerned parents have now set up a Change.Org petition to cancel the show which already has over 21,000 of its 25,000-signature target.
Emma Dalmayne, CEO of Autistic Inclusive Meets, started the petition as she believes the training could have negative effects on young children.
The petition states that “children are shown no dignity or respect in clicker training”.
It also adds that the technique is used in the behavioural therapy Applied Behavioural Analysis used on autistic children. and “is shown to cause post-traumatic stress disorder in adults that were subjected to it.”
In a separate statement, Professional Association of Canine Trainers have also raised their concerns about the programme.
PACT note that clicker training on it’s own is not a suitable method for retrain a dog, let alone a child.
It reads: “Suggesting the use of a framework for changing behaviour in children which is already questionable in dogs is absurd.”
A Channel 4 spokesperson has since told us: "The programme explores a new approach to childcare, grounded in positive, science-based motivational techniques that are used widely by parenting coaches and animal behaviour experts.
"Throughout filming and broadcast, the welfare of all contributors in the programme is of paramount importance and the process is supervised by qualified child psychologists."