Dog behaviourists slam controversial trainer Jeff Gellman's methods ahead of New Zealand seminar

Jeff Gellman is a controversial US-based dog trainer.
Jeff Gellman is a controversial US-based dog trainer. Photo credit: Youtube, Getty

Dog behaviourists have slammed a controversial dog trainer set to speak in New Zealand because of his unconventional discipline methods.

Jeff Gellman is a US-based dog trainer who is scheduled to conduct a training seminar in Auckland this year, but his methods have prompted concern from dog organisations.

Darren Rowe from Mindfulness for Dogs training told Magic Talk that Gellman's methods perpetuate "old school" techniques of using physical punishment.

"He's a very controversial, abusive dog trainer in a lot of the techniques that he uses."

Rowe says Gellman uses prong collars - a series of chain links connected to each other with the open and pointed ends facing the dog's neck - and another method where a towel is twisted up and "violently" thrown at a dog's head.

"He was explaining how fantastic his results are. Well the poor dog was screaming with pain in some of his videos and he just ignored it," Rowe says.

"If you knew anything about animal behaviour, you could see this dog was completely distressed."

Chairperson of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers New Zealand (APDTNZ) Mark Weaver told Magic Talk there are "much better ways" of training your dog.

"We see the fallout from these training methods, with, essentially, dogs that are broken emotionally."

He believes "abusive" methods create fearful and reactive dogs, and it perpetuates the myth that you need to punish a dog in order to get the behaviour you want out of it.

Rowe says although some methods get results, that doesn't mean they're right, and Gellman's case is "one of those situations".

Rowe later contacted Newshub to clarify his quotes. While he used the word "abusive", he instead meant "aversive" - a dog training term for negative punishment.