An online petition to stop a controversial dog trainer visiting New Zealand has attracted over 7000 signatures, with claims that he uses "abusive tools and outdated teaching methods".

American Jeff Gellman is scheduled to hold a two-day dog training seminar in July but his radical techniques - and the existence of a video that shows him throwing an object at a dog - have caused outrage.

Gellman, who owns Solid K-9 Training, has been the subject of online complaints since the video went viral showing him forcefully throwing a rolled towel at a dog's head.

The petition, launched earlier this week, calls on Minister For Primary Industries Damien O'Connor to block Gellman's entry to NZ and claims that Gellman's methods "create fear and pain to the dogs he is training".


It also raises Gellman's promotion of the use of electronic shock collars as a reason to bar him from entering the country.

Gellman is facing death threats in Scotland after announcing a seminar there, with over 20,000 signing a petition to stop him teaching his methods.

In a posting to social media, Gellman defended his techniques and spoke out about the effects that the threats were having on him and his family

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Every day we receive handwritten letters, emails, comments, and messages about how we have directly impacted and improved people’s lives all around the world. These people have taken the time to not only get to know us and our company, but also go out of their way to tell us how much we have directly helped them. It’s these little acts of kindness that make all the difference, and we are so humbled to be able to help so many and build relationships with folks who truly become family to us. - And then with all the nonsense going on with social media we have been receiving an influx of hate on all of our platforms—from people who do not know us, they do not know what we do, and they don’t care to do their research either. They read headlines and cast judgement based upon hearsay. They come to our page, threaten our livelihood, our families, and call it justifiable. The disconnect between the people who actually know us and use our services and interact with us directly, and those who find us through emotionally triggered propaganda is so polar opposite it’s incredible. - It’s interesting how when “imagined harm” rears it’s ugly head, you see so many emotions get thrown around unapologetically. But rational people who know the facts do not get up in arms over these things. They simply read between the lines and continue supporting the things they believe in. We love our community so much. We are always grateful for each and every one of you ♥️

A post shared by Jeff Gellman | SolidK9Training (@solidk9training) on

The father of seven said: "So many people have gotten help from this video – the full, unedited video, not the one designed to get the emotional reaction out of you.

"That has warranted a couple of thousand pieces of hate – phone calls to my cellphone and my office, death threats to me and my kids. For a cotton towel. And I fixed the problem, everyone else failed.

"I'm amazed at the backlash – because there's horrific things happening out there in the world. You can agree or disagree with what I'm doing but there's a lot of things in the world that we can agree or disagree on but that doesn't mean you should be calling for violence."

Gellman claims that the practice of throwing a rolled towel at dogs, which he calls "bonking" is "common practice" in the dog training community.

He claimed: "I fixed the problem in one second with a cotton towel.


"It's common practice in animal rehab. Nobody talks about it but thousands of dog trainers in the US and around the world that are doing rehab do the exact same thing I'm doing. I'm not unique."

The SPCA told the Herald: "SPCA does not support using pain or distress to train a dog when more humane and reliable options are available."

The group also spoke out against the use of electric collars, saying: "Using electric collars as a method of training rely on an animal experiencing an aversive, negative event which can cause an increase stress, increase the risk of aggression and other problem behaviours, and damage the human-animal bond.

"Electric collars do not resolve the underlying cause of the behaviour but rather suppress the symptoms. Positive reinforcement training methods are an effective and humane alternative to e-collars for dog training."

A spokesperson for the Ministry for Primary Industries told the Herald that they will not be intervening to prevent the seminar.

"MPI takes animal welfare very seriously and there are clear laws and guidelines for how animals should be treated.


"We do not decide who gets to give seminars in New Zealand and while we understand concerns around this particular event, we will not be intervening to prevent the seminar," the spokesperson said.

"The Code of Welfare for dogs sets out minimum standards around training and the use of aids for behavioural modification," they added.

"Under the code, recommended best practice is to train dogs calmly and patiently using recognised techniques that provide positive reinforcement for acceptable behaviour as part of the training process. Dominance should not be established by physical punishment or processes that are psychologically harmful to the dog."

The Herald has contacted Gellman for comment.