Therapy Dog Class

with Monika Jud, Denise Fitzgerald & Betty Scattini

A recent study has officially confirmed the positive effects therapy dogs have on hospital and nursing home patients.
This comes as no surprise to most dog lovers.

Therapy DogWould you like to do therapy visits with your dog? Or more importantly would your dog like to do therapy visits with you? These classes will prepare the handler and dog for various therapy environments. We will train you and your dog in therapy skills and protocols. What we can’t train is a therapy dog disposition, so your dog needs to naturally enjoy being around all kinds of different people and be comfortable with other dogs.

This six-week class introduces and familiarizes the handler and dog to situations, activities and equipment found in therapeutic environments.  We will strengthen existing behaviors as well as introduce new therapy specific cues.  Throughout the class we will cover therapy related topics such as Stress Signs, Certification and Serving Options.

This class is an excellent introduction into the world of therapy dogs and offers a great foundation for the next steps of becoming a certified therapy dog team.

Prerequisites for Therapy Dog Class:
  • Comfortable with people of ALL ages and gender!
  • Solid in basic obedience
  • Friendly & comfortable with other dogs

We will also set up mock scenarios staging situations and activities the handler and dog will find in a therapeutic environment including role playing, a certification practice test and an actual nursing home visit.  We include an introduction to more advanced visitation and trick cues.  Topics such as Zoonotic Diseases, Dog Handling Protocols and Safe Patient Interaction will be covered.

The goal of this class is to give the handler and dog team the skill and confidence to go into a broad variety of therapy dog settings.  As well as be prepared for the Alliance of Therapy Dogs Evaluation or any other therapy dog certification test.

This class has also been taken by existing therapy dog teams as a refresher and for continuing education.

Please Note:  This class does not include a therapy dog certification, but is intended to prepare you and your dog as a team to do therapy dog visits and be ready to take a therapy dog certification evaluation from various organizations that offer these.

The number of participants in this class will be limited to allow for lots of personal attention.

Cost, Dates & Times:
Class Cost:Therapy Dog (6-week Class) $145
Class Location:All classes are held at Gentle Touch Pet Training's training center located at 1886 Deer Canyon Road, Arroyo Grande, CA.
Click for directions.
Vaccines:Dogs must be current on parvo, distemper (or have protective titers) and rabies shots.
Registration:The number of participants in this class will be limited to allow for lots of personal attention.
Class Dates:
Therapy Dog Class
Thursdays
Aug 10 - Sep 14
11:30 am - 12:45 pm
Instr: Monika/Denise/Betty

About Monika Jud
Monika Jud and service dog Norman

Monika Jud and service dog Norman

Monika has professionally selected, trained & placed service and therapy dogs since 2002. Over the years she has visited numerous therapy dog settings including, hospitals, care homes, reading programs, centers for the mentally challenged, children’s homes & prisons all over the United States. Her passion is educating the public and training dogs to help people.  She has had the privilege of seeing the mentally challenged reach out and interact with a therapy dog for the first time, children who struggle in school enthusiastically read to a therapy dog, and the terminally ill forget their pain for a moment and smile while softly petting a therapy dog. It never ceases to amaze us to see the powerful unspoken ways therapy dogs communicate their message of comfort and understanding.

Monika is a graduate from  the Bergin University of Canine Studies, with an Associate of Science Degree in Assistance Dog Education in 2003, and has worked for various service dog organizations including Freedom Service Dogs in Denver CO, Lifeline Canines in Hubert NC and the Assistance Dog Institute in Santa Rosa CA.

Monika lives in San Luis Obispo and is using her own service dog Norman, a black Labrador Retriever, to cope with the daily challenges of living with Multiple Sclerosis.


About Denise Fitzgerald

Denise Fitzgerald PictureDenise has loved all animals since she was a young child. She grew up with various family dogs and pets, but got her first dog of  her own when she was 16 years old.  This  was  the first dog she trained.  Since that first dog in the 70’s, Denise has gained a lot of experience training her personal dogs, as well as fosters who have come and gone from her home from 2008-2015.

When her first English Toy Spaniel, Mr. Darcy, joined her family in 2006, she knew she had a puppy with great potential for therapy dog work.  Denise is thankful for Darcy coming into her life and providing the opportunity to get involved in therapy dog work.  Denise now has a second English Toy Spaniel who is also a registered therapy dog, and a puppy who is currently in training with hopes of becoming a registered therapy dog by early 2017.

Denise is very passionate about therapy dog work.  Since 2008, she has completed hundreds of visits with her registered therapy dogs in a variety of settings including hospitals, convalescent homes, Alzheimer’s facilities, assisted living homes, colleges, and elementary school reading programs. Two of her dogs have earned their AKC Therapy Dog Titles.  Denise has been the Lead Team for French Hospital’s Healing Paws program which started Fall 2013, and has been a Tester/Observer for Alliance of Therapy Dogs since 2013.

Denise believes there will never be enough quality therapy dog teams to meet the needs in our communities, so is excited about the opportunity to work with Monika, Teah, Betty and the students at Gentle Touch to help others to become great therapy dog teams.


About Betty Scattini

Growing up in a household that was not very pet friendly, as a child Betty was well known in the neighborhood for walking her ducks on a string and for always being the “family dog” in any childhood game of “House”. These early experiences left her with a strong desire for animals of her own when she was an adult.

Eventually, when she, her husband, and children were settled in their own home, they added a dog. Very soon, they were engrossed in conformation showing, breeding, and training their Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Dalmatians. . This was a hobby which they pursued for the next 30+ years, traveling to competitions all over the West Coast and to the Westminster Kennel Club show in New York where Betty won Best of Breed with one of their Dalmatians, Mickey Finn. They also cared for numerous rescue dogs who found their way into the Scattini household.

Betty is very enthusiastic about Therapy Dog 1 and Therapy Dog 2 classes being offered at Gentle Touch Pet Training and has been involved with these classes since their inception. The classes offer training which focuses on preparing the handler and dog for various therapy environments as well as therapy skills and protocols. These teams look forward to visiting patients in assisted living facilities and bringing added joy to their lives.