Can you discipline your dog?

A seven-year legal battle between two gundog trainers has come to an end. At its heart is the question whether you can physically discipline your dog when training it, or if you should only be allowed to use reward-based training.

The final court case, on Friday 6 December 2019, was an appeal at Plymouth Law Courts against a restraining order, granted to a dog trainer who cannot be named for legal reasons against dog trainer Christopher Upton. The Crown Prosecution Service offered no evidence. The case was dismissed.

Mr Upton, who runs Corleone Gundogs and supports corrective training, says he successfully crowdfunded the costs of his legal battles. Speaking outside the court afterwards, he says that arguments over corrective training have become overheated.

“There are death threats going out on the internet, people’s lives are being ruined, because people are fighting in frenzied attacks [other] people who don’t agree with their ideology,” he says.

Christopher Upton has had death threats over the dog discipline issue

“The reason for the case is because, effectively, one party did not approve of the training methods of the other party’s dogs,” says Kevin Hopper of Citadel Solicitors, who represented Mr Upton.

“Certain aspects of the case involved complaints to the RSPCA. Mr Upton films a lot of the training methods he uses. They have all been fully investigated. He has been vindicated.”

Christopher Upton, left, and his solicitor, Kevin Hopper

The dog trainer who brought the restraining order against Mr Upton declined to comment on the dog training issue.

Plymouth law courts

Here is our film about Christopher Upton:

Here is our film on how to show displeasure to your dog:

Here are Christopher Upton’s dogtraining videos:

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