Ban Dog Trainer Gellman


How far can a dog trainer go? According to Facebook posts dog trainer Jeff Gellman of Solid K9 Training, Providence, RI has been essentially banned from giving seminars in some nations and cities because he’s downright abusive. Watch videos and decide for yourself.

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.

Gellman is scheduled to present a two-day seminar October 3 and October 4 at Bark Avenue Daycamp, 1540 Hecht Drive, Bartlett, a suburb of Chicago. The Eventbrite registration doesn’t even include that location. We had to investigate to find out. Wonder why?

We’re Serious But Need Your Help: Speak Up for Dogs

So what can you do about it? So many of you have said you want to help.

Begin by emailing Bark Avenue Daycamp: And tell anyone you know who cares about dogs to do the same.

Please consider adding your name to the letter at the bottom of this post authored by dog trainer and attorney Oleg Sobol. Now is the time to do this – the letter is addressed to the DuPage County State’s Attorney and the Bartlett Village President with the intent to keep Jeff Gellman away from the Chicago area. If he does appear, perhaps a humane officer should be on the premises.

If Bartlett doesn’t cancel the event, some are organizing a protest – and can let you know more if that happens.

Aversive Training Isn’t Humane or Particularly Effective

The owner of Bark Avenue Daycamp told me that she believes Gellman’s methods work. Well maybe for a time, and indeed you can often intimidate or frighten dogs to do what you want, but motivation is how learning really happens. Suppressing behavior using force or intimidation is typically a set up for a ticking time bomb, as sooner or later the dog reverts to what worked. And arguably most important, when we frighten our best friends, the human-animal bond is damaged. Also, not sure I even need to explain why at least some of Gellman’s methods are downright inhumane, like throwing objects at dogs.

Here’s one video:

There are lots of methods to stop dogs from jumping but hurting them as they leap up isn’t only inhumane, we know it doesn’t work longterm. Sure scaring the dog in the classroom setting it looks like success. Jeff Gellman doesn’t care about the relationship he has with any of these dogs, after all they don’t live with him. Dogs also will associate being choked when visitors arrive, so soon enough – no surprise – their view on visitors isn’t so positive as they associate pain with those visitors. So, jumping happy greetings may be replaced with aggressive greetings.

I disagree with Gellman’s statement below. It’s not fine. By the way, by discomfort, I believe he means pain.

Please click on the link and sign – and share with as many dog lovers and especially professionals, such as veterinarians, veterinary technicians and dog trainers.


Robert Berlin

DuPage County State’s Attorney

503 N. County Farm Road

Wheaton, IL 60187


Kevin Wallace

Village of Bartlett President

228 S. Main Street

Bartlett, IL 60103


September 21, 2020

Dear State’s Attorney Berlin & Village President Wallace:

An out-of-state corporation is planning a commercial event within DuPage County and the Village of Bartlett to profit from what we believe constitutes animal cruelty and/or the depiction of animal cruelty in violation of Illinois law. We, the undersigned animal care professionals, animal advocates and other concerned citizens, are grateful that government officials in DuPage County take Illinois animal cruelty laws very seriously. (See kennel fire killing 29 dogs here; recent dog beating here). We turn to you now to respectfully request that you investigate the lawfulness of these planned activities.

Solid K-9 Training, Inc., a Rhode Island profit corporation (“Solid K9 Training”), is planning and promoting a seminar to be hosted by Bark Avenue Daycamp, Inc., an Illinois corporation (“Bark Avenue”), located at 1540 Hecht Drive, Bartlett, Illinois. The seminar is scheduled for October 3-4, 2020, with ticket prices advertised at $375-$750. (See Eventbrite details here).

Solid K9 Training’s President, Jeff Gellman, who refers to himself as a dog trainer, uses practices that we believe may constitute animal cruelty and/or depiction of animal cruelty under Illinois law. We are not alone in our opinion. Over 163,300 individuals have signed an online petition asking the Rhode Island Attorney General to investigate Solid K9 Training’s practices in its home state. (See petition here).

Section 3.01 of the Illinois Humane Care for Animals Act states that “[n]o person or owner may beat, cruelly treat, torment, starve, overwork or otherwise abuse any animal.” (510 ILCS 70/3.01(a)). Further, Section 3.03-1 states that:

No person may knowingly create, sell, market, offer to market or sell, or possess a depiction of animal cruelty. No person may place that depiction in commerce for commercial gain or entertainment…The creation, sale, marketing, offering to sell or market, or possession of the depiction of animal cruelty is illegal regardless of whether the maiming, mutilation, torture, wounding, abuse, killing, or any other conduct took place in this State. (510 ILCS 70/3.03-1(b)).

A depiction of animal cruelty is defined as, among other things, “any visual or auditory depiction, including any photograph, motion-picture film, video recording, electronic image, or sound recording, that would constitute a violation of Section 3.01…of the Humane Care for Animals Act.” (510 ILCS 70/3.03-1(a)).

As shown in a video that is publicly available on the website of the ABC affiliate in Providence, Rhode Island, a practice proudly employed by Mr. Gellman is physically striking a dog over the head with violent force. (See ABC video and article here). As shown in the video and summarized by Joe Warzycha, President of the Rhode Island SPCA, “the dog clearly responds in a manner that is indicative of pain.” (See ABC video and article here). Although Mr. Gellman opines in the video that this procedure is necessary, accredited experts in animal behavior science know otherwise. (See, for example, “The Use of Punishment for Behavior Modification in Animals” by the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, located at Regardless of the purported efficacy of or intent behind Mr. Gellman’s practice, we believe it is a clear example of beating, cruelly treating and/or otherwise abusing an animal, as contemplated by the Humane Care for Animals Act. Furthermore, we have every reason to believe that this practice and/or similar practices will take place or be depicted within Illinois during Solid K9 Training’s planned seminar at Bark Avenue. (See Solid K9 Training’s Facebook video dated September 19, 2020 here).

As such, we respectfully request that you investigate the lawfulness of the planned seminar, whether with respect to the Illinois Humane Care for Animals Act, or any other Illinois law or county or village ordinance relating to business licensure, permits or practices in general.

Sincerely yours,

The 186 (and counting) animal care professionals, animal advocates and other concerned citizens listed on the “Signatories” pages that follow


  1. Oleg Sobol, Esq.
  2. Jennifer Wahlund, DVM
  3. Jacqueline Cobb, DVM
  4. Sheila Newenham, DVM
  5. Christopher Pachel, DVM, DACVB, CABC
  6. Susan G. Friedman, PhD
  7. Jesse W. Johnson, Board Certified Behavior Analyst
  8. John Coletta, M.D.
  9. Sherri L. Oslick, PhD, JD
  10. Jean Donaldson, Founder of the Academy for Dog Trainers
  11. Steve Dale, CABC
  12. Michael Shikashio CDBC
  13. Brenda Belmonte, CPDT-KA
  14. Sue Bohr, NCCMT
  15. Pam Yano, CPDT-KA
  16. Liz Mishima KPA-CTP
  17. Lora G Johnson, CPDT-KA
  18. Ali Evanson KPA-CTP
  19. Amy Hammonds IAABC
  20. Heather Haggerty ABCDT
  21. Erica Kendzora KPA-CTP
  22. Aimee Busse, CPDT-KSA
  23. Janice L. Petrella, KPA CTP, Doggone Safe Certified Dog Bite Prevention Educator
  24. Mary Thompson, CPDT-KA PMCT1
  25. Karla Paschon ABCDT
  26. Jordan Bradley, KPA-CTP
  27. Lois M. Barta CCDT
  28. Leigh Casino, BSMT, President, Hightails Hideaway, Inc.
  29. Phyllis Zboril, CTC
  30. Leslie Radoicic, CNWI
  31. Josie Sims, ABCDT
  32. Cassandra Williams KPA-CTP
  33. Liz Mishima KPA-CTP
  34. Ashlee Trotter, BS, CPDT-KA
  35. Steven Frost, KPA CTP, CPBT-KA, SBA, A Sound Beginning Program Manager
  36. Jordan Michaels, ABCDT
  37. Karen Sandy CPDT-KA
  38. Kelly Yearwood, KPA-CTP
  39. Gina Nichols, CPDT-KA
  40. Kathy Ihlenfeldt KPA-CTP
  41. Jenny Mancuso VSA-CDT-Online
  42. Kristi Benson CTC PCBC-A
  43. Concetta Phillipps ABCDT
  44. Katherine Moody, CPDT-KA
  45. Tim Steele, CTC
  46. Ashley Given CPDT-KA, Owner, Lucky Pets Sitting Services
  47. MaryKaye Kendrick IAABC-ADT, SBA
  48. Eva McCLain, CTC
  49. Jane A. Matthews, MSW
  50. Amy Terceira, CTC
  51. Heather Hunter CPDT-KA
  52. Jessica Ring, CTC, PMCT, PCBC-A, CPDT-KA
  53. Mary M. Angilly, CTC, CPDT-KA
  54. Julie Benson, KPA-CTP, CPDT-KA
  55. Anne Aalbue CPDT-KA
  56. Natasha Mathew, KPA-CTP
  57. Allie Bender, CDBC, CPDT-KA, SBA
  58. Sarah Pennington CTC and Academy for Dog Trainers Faculty Member
  59. Fernando Luis Diaz, CPDT-KA, CDBC, CSBS
  60. Lisa Skavienski, CTC, CSAT
  61. Nickala Squire, CTC
  62. Lori Ogawa CPDT-KA
  63. Peggy Bowers CPDT-KA, PMCT2, Fear Free Certified,
  64. Debbie Foster, IAABC, IAATE
  65. Sheila Spitza, President, Wet Nose, Inc.
  66. Eryn Sweeney-Demezas, Board Member & Co-Founder, Adoptable Friends, NFP
  67. Pamela Kitts, Chairman of the Board, Adoptable Friends, NFP
  68. Greg Yearwood, President, Pits for Patriots
  69. Heather Owen, Executive Director, One Tail at a Time, NFP
  70. Pam Byrne, Board Member, As Good as Gold Golden Retriever Rescue of IL
  71. Greg Yearwood, President, Pits for Patriots
  72. Valerie Moore, Board President & Training Coordinator, Midwest Labrador Retriever Rescue
  73. Stephanie Rheingruber, President, Wish Upon a Rescue
  74. Peggy Grandahl, Director, Paws Crossed Rescue Resource
  75. Nicole Ormsby, Vice President of C.A.R.E., State representative for Bailing Out Benji
  76. Paula Walinski, Owner, Precious Paws Inc.
  77. Deyanne Gabriel, Lost Cats of DuPage County Illinois
  78. Carrie Frost, Humane Educator
  79. Deana Noonan
  80. Madeline P. Kolder
  81. Stephanie Rheingruber
  82. Sarah Majewski
  83. Kari Schnulle
  84. Andrea Salis
  85. Diane Obey
  86. Nanette C Boryc
  87. Elizabeth Despain
  88. Jessica L. Hall
  89. Diana Tucker
  90. Laurie Hetzel
  91. Kathleen Voss
  92. Nancy Konopasek
  93. Sonia Fetherling
  94. Heather Stimetz
  95. Ashley Roth
  96. Pat Fitzgerald
  97. Joanne Rowe
  98. Jennifer Stewart
  99. Ardyn Cieslak
  100. Julia Debernardi
  101. Debra L. Piscola
  102. Cathy Bonich
  103. Jill Kaider Boland
  104. Dawn Pauley
  105. Jonas Dornseifer
  106. Kathy Cieslak
  107. Deborah Plowman
  108. Mary T Ramsden
  109. Karen Mazzaroli, Foster
  110. Jane Ann Edmonds
  111. Jonelle Reuland
  112. Linda Latelle
  113. Cindy Lochmueller
  114. Alyssa Horne
  115. Lou Ann Bryson
  116. Steven Barr
  117. Rosemary Davy
  118. Anna Halverson
  119. Jack Cieslak
  120. Suzanne Anders
  121. Laura Heisinger
  122. Erica Gennaro
  123. Marisa Pyatt
  124. Kristin Lucey
  125. Gail Russell
  126. Karol Jean Thies
  127. Martha Lemke
  128. Damien Rizzo
  129. Emma Brkic
  130. Colleen Maney
  131. Jen Monaco
  132. Ashley Bonick
  133. Corinne Connor
  134. Tom Van Winkle
  135. Julie Schroeder
  136. Teresa Klimek
  137. Paul Klimek
  138. Kathleen M. Dietz
  139. Kathy Arthur
  140. Frances Stabosz
  141. Mary Lou Basten
  142. Lou Basten
  143. Diane Thompson
  144. Inessa Kramer
  145. Lois Ann Persenaire
  146. Michael Stuczynski
  147. Kenneth Kramer
  148. Lisa J. Clark
  149. Marlene Pedone
  150. Morgan Stuczynski
  151. Jennifer Dunski
  152. Ashley Hanson
  153. Sharon Ushman
  154. Tracy Swiston
  155. Racheal Miller
  156. Stephanie Benner
  157. Megan Coody
  158. Kathi Zadak
  159. Jessica Cieplinski
  160. Cecily Lehman
  161. Carol Anderson
  162. Mary Farina
  163. Emma Colangelo
  164. Linda Ward-Johnson
  165. Elizabeth Bryant
  166. Jocelyn Fennewald
  167. Sabrina Fairless
  168. Michelle Rudolph
  169. Sandra Townsend
  170. Janice Zazinski
  171. Susan Schmult
  172. Karen Miller
  173. Lisa A. Klich
  174. Laura Vento
  175. Peggy Grandahl
  176. Karen Given
  177. Karen R. Clarke
  178. Natalie Cantieri
  179. Tomas Ramanauskas
  180. Stephanie Lee
  181. Laurie Scible
  182. Michelle Levine
  183. Alexis Bond
  184. Brynn Obrien
  185. Joseph J. Sebek
  186. Hannah Paist