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Channel 4 to broadcast Train Your Baby Like a Dog show

By Rachel Lawler
Channel 4 is due to air a new programme called Train Your Baby Like a Dog on 20 August.
Featuring dog trainer and behaviourist Jo-Rosie Haffenden, the show will see how her unusual positive reinforcement method works on a toddler and a three-year-old child.

Petition calls for cancellation
Concerns about the show have been raised ahead of its broadcast, with a petition calling for it to be cancelled.
Emma Dalmayne, chief executive of Autistic Inclusive Meets, launched the petition, asking Channel 4 to reconsider its decision to air the show. She said: "The children, as far as we know, in this show are not autistic, however no child should be treated like this.

"We here at Autistic Inclusive Meets [...] ask [Channel 4 chief executive] Alexandra Rose Mahon [...] to consider that this [is] dehumanising to children, that it should not be given a platform and to consider cancelling the airing full stop."

Caution needed
Melanie Pilcher, quality and standards manager at the Alliance, said that rewards and sanctions need to be used “very carefully”.
Melanie said: “Children should not be treated in the same way as dogs. Children’s social and emotional development is grounded in the way that adults respond to and nurture them.
“They need consistent messages, clear boundaries and guidance to intrinsically manage their behaviour through self-reflection and control.
“Rewards such as excessive praise or treats may provide immediate results for the adult but do not teach a child how to act when a prize is not offered, or provide them with the skills to manage situations and emotions themselves.
“Instead, a child is taught to be compliant and respond to meet adult expectations in order to obtain a reward for fear of a sanction.”
Channel 4 response
A spokesperson from Channel 4 commented: "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."

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