Dog training for babies? Only leads to anxious and unsympathetic little ones

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Channel 4 aired its new documentary “Train Your Baby Like a Dog” on August 20, in which a expert dog trainer encouraged parents to use dog training techniques with their young children to shape their behavior.



There are calls to cancel the program, and the calls are correct. Parents who follow the suggestion and apply dog training to their babies may cause serious consequences to their babies.


What the program guest suggested


The expert dog trainer (why should the dog trainer care for baby training anyway) told parents to put a child in a different room when they “misbehaved” and bribe them with foods to encourage good behavior.



According to him, good behaviors include sitting obediently on the floor like a dog ad being called a good boy or girl, while bad behaviors may include waking and crying at midnight.



What’s not scientific in the suggestion



Babies and toddlers certainly don’t wake and cry at midnight to challenge you – they cannot control their emotions and behaviors and their brains are not fully developed. Loving support are needed to help them understand and regulate their emotions and behavior as they grow and learn.



So what should you do when your baby starts to cry again and brings you another sleepless night? In contrast to the program’s advice, evidence suggests that parents should be responsive to their child’s needs.


Being responsive includes recognizing when a child is tired and needs help sleeping, or is overwhelmed and needs help calming down. Studies suggest that children with love care from their parents tend to have fewer behavioral problems, higher IQ scores and better social interactions with their peers.


Meeting the babies’ needs in a gentle way helps them develop confidence, self-assurance and emotional well-being. By contrast, praising or punishing babies based on their behaviors can lead to higher risk of developing anxiety and other emotional problems in babies.



If the babies only know they will receive different attitudes when they do different behaviors, it’s easier for them to constantly worry about their behaviors, because they do not get help from their parents about why they do something wrong, and how to do it right.


In a nutshell, dog training is extremely improper for babies. Feeding your baby with your love is better than refusing eye contact, or cuddling, or other behaviors that may increase the baby’s anxiety.


2 Answers

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I train My Dogs much like I taught My Daughter. Using gentle guidance into learning and lots of attention to who each is. My Daughter grew up well and My Dogs are well behaved and intelligent. So, both can be 'trained', but I don't think the results could be as positive if general dog training were in place of guidance and attention.
Dogs who have been properly trained behave better than most children. I am a former middle school /High School teacher, and I hate to inform everyone but the decision to stop using corporal punishment or for that matter any kind of real punishment put the inmates in charge of the asylum. Dr. Spock wrote a book back in the late 60’s/early 70’s that advocated reasoning with kids rather than opting for training and loving discipline. There is a HUGE difference between spanking a child and child abuse. I know the difference from personal experience and from serving as a CASA volunteer working with the Juvenile Court System as a Court Appointed Special Advocate.Children who receive loving discipline and training as babies, form appropriate bonds with their caregivers—whether it is a two parent or single parent home, blended family, etc. They develop into healthy emotionally stable individuals. Kids whose parents bothered to invest the time necessary to encourage and guide them know they are important. It helps them by making them far less likely to be targets for gangs or Internet predators because they don’t need a place to belong if they already have it. Babies are sponges that soak up everything around them. They start learning before they exit the womb. It is a mistake to underestimate a child’s capacity to learn particularly when they are taught with love. Kids have to have boundaries and very early will start testing them—puppies are the same way. Hopefully kids will grow far beyond puppies—though I have seen things on College campuses that make me wonder.  

It is easy to negate dog training unless you have actually done it. Dogs are easy to train, trainers are not. Dogs don’t understand mixed messages. They need consistent, loving, firm (never harsh) guidance. If you initially train your dog while you are out walking to stop and sit while a car passes, to stay until released, and to pay attention to you intently even when there are multiple distractions, you will not have to worry about your dog being run over by a car because he ignored you to chase the mail truck or the FedEx truck. There is no choice but to sit and stay until you give the release—for me it is “okay.” Wouldn’t it be nice if instead of catering to their children’s every wish parents said “no, you don’t need it. End of discussion.” And that was it, no more discussion?  

What is it that trainers do to get dogs to obey? It isn’t because dogs always want to do everything they are told to do. It is that they understand what they are being told; they believe that the individual giving the command means it; and they have complete trust in their trainer. The ONLY WAY trust exists is that it is EARNED! You can’t establish trust by constantly hovering over your dog or punishing him too much. Hovering over dogs and children causes anxiety for the dog and the child. When an owner never allows his dog the chance to learn to be alone and comes every time his puppy cries, his puppy will develop separation anxiety. Kids need to learn to self comfort so they can develop a sense of self.

Why are so many 25 and 30 year old College Graduate’s living with Mom and Dad right now? They can’t make it on their own because Mom and Dad never shoved them out of the nest. My Mother is no longer with us, and I miss her every day. I also Thank her every day for all the things she was trying to tell me before she died. Her #1 job was to give us the skills to survive on a desert island. There is no doubt that Babies need to bond with their parents. Children also need to learn to be independent. They need to know how to work for things rather than have it handed to them. Here is another area where dog training comes in. Dogs earn treats when they do tasks. All of our dogs have had to do obedience commands before they eat. We had a dog who literally danced whenever the word “hungry” was mentioned—fortunately she never learned how to spell. I have never seen a dog get so excited about dog food. She did learn how to tell time—she knew when 8am and 8pm were!

My pets are my fur babies. I have taken every dog we have owned through an Obedience Training Class. We have always adopted from the local humane society. Our newest addition is a 75lb. Shepherd Mix who just turned a year—his paws are bigger than my size 9.5 feet. I am sure he will be 90 lb at minimum. He is the most precious, vivacious boy, but at the moment he lacks manners. We have had some major life changing events this year, but now it is time to get back to focusing on what we need to. We have just begun his training—It is a shame that society wastes so much time fighting over what offends them. In this digital age wouldn’t our time be better spent helping and encouraging each other when we are facing difficulties. It really does take a village to raise a child—two legs and four legs!
Good night
You sound like a potential child abuser. Or have you actually acted o  your warped and degenerate beliefs that's it's "actually good" to talk to your children like prison inmates and to hit them on a regular basis.

If our kids are having problems adjusting to the world of work and accumulation the reasons are many and their complex. Each person has their own life and experience.

But someone with your twisted, backward, authoritarian mentality can ultimately only do harm and make circumstances much worse.

If you did to another adult what you brag about doing to children you'd be arrested for assualt. Think about it before you cause even greater and maybe permanent harm.