Animal Rights Activists Force Cancellation of Controversial RI Dog Trainer’s Event in Illinois

Animal Rights Activists Force Cancellation of Controversial RI Dog Trainer’s Event in Illinois

Wednesday, September 23, 2020


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A YouTube video shows Gellman’s controversial techniques — including “bonking” dogs.

A controversial Rhode Island dog trainer has been turned away from an upcoming seminar in Illinois after animal rights activists took action. 

Jeff Gellman of Solid K9 Training in Providence was scheduled to appear at Bark Avenue Day Camp in Bartlett, Illinois in October.

Leading animal behavior specialist Steve Dale, however, started a campaign calling on Illinois authorities to investigate what he believes “constitutes animal cruelty and/or the depiction of animal cruelty in violation of Illinois law.”

Dale provided video compilations of Gellman’s techniques — including “bonking” dogs — and urged people to contact Illinois authorities. SEE BELOW

“Dog trainers have many views on what is the right way to train, but I hope that all professionals believe throwing objects at dogs is the wrong way and downright cruel, and that various methods I’ve witnessed in Gellman’s own videos may, in fact, be worthy of animal abuse,” said Dale. 

In the letter Dale asked supporters to sign, he referenced the petition in Rhode Island calling on Attorney General Peter Neronha to investigate Solid K9 Training’s “abusive practices including hitting, choking, shocking dogs” — that has over 160,000 signatures. 

This week, Dale announced “Bonking Dog Trainer Jeff Gellman Turned Away” — and thanked supporters for reaching out and signing on to the letter. 


“What I truly want to understand is not Gellman so much – but why people actually buy into aversive and downright abusive training methods. How can people in 2020 truly think there isn’t a better way when we know that there is?” wrote Dale. 

Solid K9 Training did not respond to request for comment. 

Latest for Controversial Trainer 

In January, Gellman faced a call to be banned from a Manchester, England event — he has also faced similar calls to be banned from Scotland and Australia. 

Solid K9 Training, which lists nearly 50,000 followers on Facebook, stands by its techniques.

This week, they posted what they said had been a testimonial from Gellman’s’ most recent seminar in Nashville.

“So many folks out there feel alone on their journey with their dog. Their dog’s bad behavior is taking over their lives, and they feel they have lost hope. But, you are not alone. My seminars are filled with likeminded people with similar struggles. My seminars are a place for folks to connect and make change in themselves and their dogs. My seminars are for everybody and every dog, and this is why I’m so madly passionate about what I do. I can’t wait to meet you all.”

Dennis Tabella with Defenders of Animals in Rhode Island, however, takes issue with Gellman’s techniques in videos. 

“Dog trainers all have different techniques and opinions on what works and does not work; however, we cannot accept abusive training methods just because they appear to work,” said Tabella. 

“Defenders of Animals, Inc., has used at least seven trainers and evaluators over the years, and none of them at the time displayed any form of abuse toward any of the dogs that were being trained or evaluated, including Jeff Gellman,” he said. “However, we are very disturbed at the videos pertaining to his methods and certainly do not endorse those methods being displayed in those videos.”

“Defenders of Animals, Inc., does not condone inhumane training techniques or any abuse conducted by any dog trainer,” said Tabella. 


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