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Est. 2019 - Salem, Oregon

At The Tenacious K9, we believe every dog and human are unique and the training plan should be too.

Our goal is to help humans and dogs live harmoniously with one another. This is achieved through communication, understanding, cooperation and respect. We teach the human how to better read and understand their dog, be their advocate and how to "speak" their language. Clear communication is the first step. Once the dog can understand what is being asked of it, and the human understands the dog's needs, everything else comes together naturally. 

About: About

Emily Ralls

Owner and Trainer

I am a private dog trainer located in Salem, Oregon. I have been training professionally for 7 years. I grew up working with dogs alongside my grandpa. He grew my passion for animals and my understanding of how they think.  After his death in 2019, I made the jump from pet training at a cooperation to self-employed. 

I love watching dogs and their people learn to communicate and thrive. The growth I see in them keeps driving me forward and motivated.


I work with dogs of all breeds and ages. My primary focus is behavior modification. But I do basic and advance obedience, service dog and trick training as well. I am currently working towards my second bachelor's degree. My first is in human psychology. My second will be in animal health and behavior. I am certified through AKC to evaluate CGC tests as well as trick titles. 

I hope to keep growing my business. I am always learning and adjusting my techniques to better serve dogs and their people. Keep checking back to see what we have coming next!

About Me

Tools and Methods

The Tenacious K9 uses a balanced training methodology. What this means to us is, using a combination of positive reinforcement and correction. We always start as soft and gentle as possible, but not all dogs respond to this, especially when it comes to behavior modification. By letting the dog tell us what motivates them (for both positive and negative) we can create a clear line of communication and have success. Clients are walked through step by step the why and how it works. Like with everything else in life, there needs to be a balance.


HOWEVER, respect is a core value, we don't believe in forcing someone to use tools/methods they are not comfortable with. Someone choosing not to use the recommended tools/methods can cause training progress to be slower or become stagnant. Many clients eventually decide to try the tools and are happy they do.

Using both positive and negative creates a clear picture for the dog. Punishment is not a bad word, just has a negative connotation. Punishment can be something as simple as a firm no and taking away attention/toys/treats or spatial pressure. It is not hurting/abusing your dog. If the person's goal is to cause the dog pain to comply, that person shouldn't be working with a dog. Being uncomfortable is okay, life can be uncomfortable. Causing pain intentionally is not.

Tool and Methods

Rewards/reinforcement can be anything that motivates the dog to do something (sit, recall, place, etc). Correction/punishment is anything that motivates the dog to not do something (ignore handler, lunge, bark, etc). Because all dogs are so different, rewards and punishers look very different dog to dog. One dog may love food while another loves praise. One dog may hate being scolded while another needs e-collar correction. This is why we believe in working with the dog in front of you and finding success with what they care about.

We firmly believe in teaching the dog what is expected of them before utilizing correction. You can't expect a dog to understand why it is being corrected when it hasn't been taught what to do first. Behaviors are taught through luring and shaping. Positive reinforcement is used whenever the dog offers a behavior we like, whether we asked for it or not.

Once the dog 110% knows what is being asked of it we move on to correction (again this can be as simple as a firm no or spatial pressure). Having consequences for not doing what they know they should, creates a solid behavior and a dog who is not reliant on treats to listen.


Tools used may include: treats, toys, flat collars, martingale collars, 6' nylon or leather lead, 10'-30' long line, slip leads, prong collars, e-collars and/or muzzles. 

Methods used may include: positive reinforcement, spatial pressure, leash pressure, luring, shaping, counterconditioning, desensitization and social learning.

All tools/methods have the ability to be used incorrectly and cause harm to a dog. Used correctly, these all can be wonderful options for the right dog and have their place in the training world. That's why working with a knowledgeable trainer is vital, we can read your dog and understand what they specifically need, what will help them and what might break them. What works for one, may not for another.

Tools/Methods 3

Charles Addams

"What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly."

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