You ain’t nothing like a hound dog — and neither are your kids. But at least one dog trainer disagrees, and has a reality TV show to back her up.
On Jo-Rosie Haffenden’s “Train Your Baby Like a Dog,” airing Tuesdays on the UK’s Channel 4, the “animal behaviorist” commands both her 3-year-old son and her dog to sit. Down they go, quietly and without fuss.
“Good boy,” she tells them. “Whether it’s a dog or a child,” she tells viewers, “they all want to be good boys.” Haffenden also rewards an 18-month-old girl with chocolate treats to help her overcome fear of the bathtub — and uses clickers to reinforce certain behaviors.
Many British parents are outraged. They want the show taken off the air — it’s already blocked from streaming for American audiences — and have tweeted how “rubbish” and “absurd” Haffenden’s methods are.
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They even take issue with the title. On “Good Morning Britain,” June O’Sullivan, who heads the London Early Years Foundation, said that if the show were called “Train Your Wife Like a Dog,” the whole country would be up in arms.
More than 35,400 people have signed a petition circulated by the organization Autistic Inclusive Meets urging that the show be canceled.
“Children are not dogs,” it states, adding that the children are shown “no dignity or respect in clicker-training behaviorism.”
Dr. Rebecca Schrag Hershberg, an early-childhood psychologist based in New York City and Westchester, agrees with them. “Babies and young children are people, and so the question becomes, would you want to be treated in this way?” the author of “The Tantrum Survival Guide” tells The Post.
“I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t feel disrespected and demeaned, frankly, by their loved one’s attempt to change their behavior with a clicker.”
Haffenden, whose books include “Real Dog Yoga” and “Teach My Cat to Do That,” says she began to apply her dog-training techniques on her son after failing to find the answers she sought in traditional child-rearing guides. “I don’t understand why we haven’t been applying animal techniques to humans, universally,” she says on her show.
“Kids are a lot more like dogs than people like to think.”
Manhattan-based dog trainer Mike Lustig, 50, tells The Post the idea of using a clicker with kids is “ridiculous.” Nevertheless, he says, other elements of canine training can come in handy.
“Rather than using a clicker to teach a child to sit, I focused on patience, consistency and gentle guidance,” says Lustig, who has a 2½-year-old daughter. “Much of what dog training is based on is behaviorism and classical conditioning, which are both going to play a huge part in a child’s life, whether or not the parent is trying to employ dog-training techniques.”
Lustig says he’s afraid that those with no dog-training skills will watch Haffenden’s “pseudo-educational show” and try to replicate the methods at home: “That’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.”