Channel 4 prides itself on its diverse programming. Nowhere was this more apparent than this week when they aired their new documentary TRAIN YOUR BABY LIKE A DOG!
Think Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares meets Crufts meets Supernanny, and this sort of explains the content and format of this show. On one level, as a piece of entertainment it worked perfectly well.
It was interesting to see how esteemed animal behaviourist Jo-Rosie Haffenden, tried to adopt her dog behaviourist knowledge to that of children’s behaviour. However, what serious deductions we can gain from such a show are open to wide debate.
I comeback to the format of the programme though as its main weakness. It felt copied from other successful Channel 4 shows, so therefore had this unoriginal feel to it.
We got the disaster opening where three-year-old Graydon’s unruly behaviour was demonstrated. Then we got the dog behaviourist intervention from Jo-Rosie, and then we got the happy ending that you knew was coming our way.
Same happened with her other case featuring baby Dolce, who struggled with her eating and sleeping patterns. We sought of had seen all this before somewhere.
Another issue with the programme was that Jo-Rosie seem to say a lot of stuff as facts, whereas really it was just her opinion. For example, right at the start of the show we heard her say, ‘’if everybody parented their child the same way we are training our dogs, we would end up with much more confident, compassionate and curious human beings’’. Really, but where is the evidence or proof for such a statement Jo-Rosie?
Jo-Rosie may well indeed have helped these two young families that were featured in the programme. However, you cannot then generalise about such a therapy working for babies in general due to the participant size here being so small.
Three quarters of the way through the documentary an ethical issue arose that needs mentioning. It was when Jo-Rosie told us that she was now going to do some sneaky spying on the interaction between Graydon and his mum and dad. Supposedly, the production team had been in when they were all out and placed these cameras in unseen locations. Surely without their prior consent, this was then extremely unethical? Or as I suspect, were Graydon’s parents fully aware that the cameras were there after all?
It was interesting television, but it was not amazing television. As discussed, the format was too just formulaic regardless of the subject matter.
You can watch this episode now on All4