Levi and I after a practice search

I’m Danelle Kelly, and I’ve been pretty much obsessed with dog training since 1988, when I bought my first dog, a Rhodesian Ridgeback I named “Tyrone”.

I’ve owned or fostered many dogs over the years, including American pit bull terriers, border collies, terriers, chihuahuas, a great Dane, and even a pharaoh hound.  I now share a home with border collies “Edna” and “Audrey,” a chihuahua, “Pete” and “Kip,” a 3/4 chihuahua x dachsund who I picked up as an aggression rehabilitation project in March 2018.

Edna is my certified Search and Rescue partner; and Audrey, who is related to Edna has the job of making every day more fun.

Tyrone and I earned AKC and UKC Companion Dog titles during the winters when living in Oregon. In the summers,  I worked at a salmon fishing resort on the west coast of Prince of Wales Island here in Southeast Alaska.  I showed Tyrone several times for the next title up, a CDX,  and also trained Tyrone in AKC tracking and carting, and dabbled in agility as well, with several of my dogs.  I have attended training seminars for sheep herding, obedience trialing, tracking, search and rescue and agility.

When I moved back to Ketchikan in 1995 I switched my focus from competition training to search and rescue training, and joined Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad.  I adopted “Annie,” a black Labrador mix from our local shelter and trained her for SAR.  She was the first certified search dog in Ketchikan, and was an incredible working dog her entire career, before she retired at age 11 in 2008. Her final rescue was especially rewarding, when she found a small girl lost in the dark, wet cold night in the forest that stretches behind Ketchikan. Annie also had completed two of three legs on an obedience title and some agility competition before she died of old age in 2011.

For several years I taught group and private obedience classes in Ketchikan, but was frustrated that even well-trained dogs could be still unstable, unpleasant and even unsafe companions.  I stumbled on “The Dog Whisperer” TV episodes and knew I’d found the missing piece in my training toolbox: the difference between dog training, and dog leadership. Using Cesar Millan’s approach to behavior modification and pack dynamics, I succeeded in rehabilitating my first project — Pete, the chihuahua that came to us with extreme aggression problems. Following that success, I have successfully taken in and rehabilitated several aggressive, fearful and difficult dogs for local rescue organizations.

Since 2009, I have focused on coaching people one-one-one to solve their dogs’ behavior problems and to raise great puppies.  I really have enjoyed getting to know families as I’ve helped them create happy, balanced furry companions.

Working for perfection in a high score, or training a dog to possibly save someone’s life is very exciting, but saving unbalanced dogs’ lives by reshaping their temperaments and coaching pet owners on how to solve the basic problems of living with another species are deeply gratifying.

This blog is one more way I am excited to reach out to people who want to live with the perfect, balanced dogs of their dreams.

In my non-dog life I teach light-hearted painting classes, work as a reporter for Ketchikan Daily News and wrangle a flock of chickens.

6 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Danelle – Just wanted to send you an update on the girls. They were so tired Sat eve they just collapsed under my desk and snored! Sunday I was busy and the weather so bad we didn’t walk. I see now that was a mistake. But Sandy shepard came over and Panda was an angel. She usually treats Sandy like a new toy!

    We walked yesterday and because I was in town most of the day I decided to take them together. We make it to the church parking lot and back. Panda was fine by the time we headed back but Bella had regressed – or rather I had. I was tired. I think for awhile I will take them one at a time unless someone else is here to take Panda.

    But the really good news is the feeding! I decided to make it more appealing to Bella to stay and eat I put about a tsp peanut butter in the food and stood there mixing and mixing until each nugget was peanut buttered a little. You should have seen the drool! I made them sit and wait and wait! It worked! They both gobbled it up all at once! success! And so funny to watch.

    Thanks for you help – we will keep working on being calm and assertive! My sister asked me about you so she may call. Kathy Evans. She might want you to work with her mini doxies.



    1. I was so happy to read this, Becki! I hope you continue to find it fun and challenging to be re-shaping your relationship with the girls. I sure loved meeting your family. I did not get to see your art this week, but I plan to take myself out to lunch Monday, and to treat myself to visiting your works!

      Let me know if you have questions, or would like some more practice with anything.

      You made my day, with this post. Don’t hesitate to contact me with problems either, though. 🙂


  2. Thanks for the encouragement. It is still up and down. Some days Bella doesn’t eat at all! Last night she dug out under the wood fence. The walking has been good and not so good but we are going to continue. Panda is being a perfect angel. I have tried taking both of them but Bella takes too much energy and concentration. I take Panda first so I feel good about the whole thing and then Bella. But by them I am tired so I will try switching. We will just keep trying.
    Thanks again.


  3. I think that you need to get a weighted backpack for Bella. She needs more strong leadership, and will test your skills. Put at least one big water bottle, or weights about 10% of her total weight in the pack. That made a huge difference in her focus when we took her out.

    My old dog needs a separate, second walk, and I never do it – so I understand. I just do a walk that’s easy for her instead, shortchanging the rest of the dogs… We only have so much time and energy! The weighted pack will make a difference with Bella though. I have a big pack that I can get back from a friend who’s borrowing it, if you need one until you can buy one.


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