Gentle Touch Pet Training


At Gentle Touch Pet Training all of our trainers have a few things in common. We all believe in and enjoy training with positive reinforcement methods; we all have a passion for dogs and enjoy sharing that passion with other people; we all spend lots of time with our dogs either competing or in some way practicing what we teach in the real world; and we all believe in continuing education. All of our trainers started as clients with Gentle Touch Pet Training many years ago and worked their way into a training position here. At Gentle Touch we’re very proud of the quality of our trainers and are thrilled to be able to share their expertise with you and your dog.

All of our training assistants began as clients first and through their enthusiasm and joy of training began helping with our group classes. Our class assistants share the philosophy of believing in positive training methods. Each person who helps with GTPT classes also spends time every year attending top-rate seminars, as we all believe in continuing education and always improving our skills. Many of our assistants are avid competitors in various dog sports and enjoy sharing their knowledge and love of dogs with our clients and their dogs.

Teah Anders, CPDT-KA, CAP2, CNWI, MMSI, CGC Evaluator

Teah Anders founded Gentle Touch Pet Training in 1999 and has enjoyed teaching people and their dogs clicker training for more than 16 years. She has successfully taught thousands of people the clicker training method. She is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers and is a professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT). She is a Certified Nose Work Instructor through the National Association of K9 Scent Work. Teah has also earned a CAP2 (Competency Assessment Program – Level 2) certification through Kay Laurence’s Learning About Dogs organization in the UK. She has been a Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Evaluator through the American Kennel Club for many years. In 2008, Teah published a comprehensive dog training book entitled, “Click ‘n Connect: Training Your Dog a Lifelong Journey.” Teah and Hally, certified through Therapy Dog’s International, have fun cheering folks up in visits to elderly care facilities.

Currently Teah teaches puppy and intermediate clicker training classes at her facility. She has developed and co-teaches a Feisty Fido’s class for reactive dogs. She also teaches classes in her favorite sport K9 Nose Work. In addition, Teah does private in-home training and behavioral consultations.

Teah’s favorite sport is K9 Nose Work.  She was among the first 25 certified NW instructors in the country through the National Association of Canine Scent Work (NACSW).  Teah has hosted numerous ORTs and acts as both a CO and Judge for ORTs.  In addition, Teah has hosted many NW Trials on the Central Coast since 2010.  Teah has participated as an instructor in Colorado and Pennsylvania K9 Nose Work Training Camps hosted by NACSW and Dogs of Course.  Teah began teaching NW in 2009 and today still enjoys sharing this sport with numerous clients!

In her free time, Teah has also enjoyed several other dog sports with her dogs including Musical Canine Freestyle and Conformation. She has competed in Musical Canine Freestyle with her Pug, Hally, who is the first Pug to earn both beginning and novice titles through the World Canine Freestyle Organization.  Barrister Shamrock is an AKC Champion.

Teah believes that continuing education is a priority. She attends seminars around the country on many topics related to dog training, dog sports and dog behavior. In recent years, several highlights include many Nose Work Seminars offered through NACSW, the Animal Training Program at Shedd Aquarium with Ken Ramirez, Karen Pryor’s Clicker Expos, APDT Conferences, Bob Bailey’s Chicken Camp and many more. She also hosts seminars each year bringing world-class trainers such as Kay Laurence, Steve and Jen White, Ken Ramirez, Patricia McConnell, Pat Miller and Kathy Sdao to California’s Central Coast.

In 2013, Teah had the opportunity to train with Olympic Gold Metalist, Lanny Bassham, and become one of the first Certified Mental Management Instructors in the country.  This amazing system allows folks to compete with joy and perform at their highest capability.  The more comfortable the handler, the better the dog can perform what they know how to do!  Teah enjoys teaching Mental Management Systems concepts in Seminars and helping folks with private coaching and webinars and has worked with all kinds of dog sport enthusiasts around the country.

Through the years, Teah has donated many hours of time helping local dog shelter staff learn more about positive training methods. For more than 12 summers, she was a presenter at the Wood’s Humane Society Critter Camp. In addition, she has helped many 4-H students learn clicker training.

Teah holds a B.S. degree in business and an M.A. degree in Natural Resources Policy, Communications and Management. Although Teah originally learned clicker training in 1989, it was when she made the move to California that she had the opportunity to move from the corporate arena, where she worked with environmental issues, to help people live happier lives with their dogs. Teah lives with her husband, Chuck, six dogs, a cat, a bird, five llamas and two goats in Arroyo Grande, CA.


Katie Hawkins, CPDT-KA, CAP1, CNWI

Katie has been around dogs and dog training her entire life. From a very young age, Katie was taught how to live and work with dogs by her Mother, who raised and competed in Conformation and Obedience with Boxers. Because dogs have always been a big part of her life, she feels that training is essential for a harmonious relationship.

Katie was first introduced to clicker training years ago with her rescue Pit Bull mix, Skye. Katie found clicker training to be a good fit for her and has never looked back. Through experience, Katie learned that she can achieve the same levels of reliability with positive training methods as she did in the past with more “traditional methods” of training. Plus, as an added benefit, Katie explains that she and her dogs find positive methods much more enjoyable.

Realizing that there’s always more to learn, Katie has enjoyed continuing education through many seminars at Gentle Touch Pet Training (including Kay Laurence, Ken Ramirez, Steve White and Kathy Sdao) as well as traveling to many other seminars such as Clicker Expo and Bob Bailey’s Chicken Camp.

Katie is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and has obtained her Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) credentials through the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) Katie is a Certified Nose Work Instructor, CNWI, through the National Association of Canine Scent work. She is also an AKC CGC (Canine Good Citizen) evaluator and does CGC evaluations at GTPT and at special community events. Katie has also completed a CAP1 (Competency Assessment Program – Level 1) certification through Kay Laurence’s Learning About Dogs in the UK.

In the late 1980’s, Katie served on the Board of Directors of Woods Humane Society and has contributed many hours of volunteer work with Teah at SLO Animal Control.

Katie has competed and titled with her dogs in Obedience, Agility and Musical Canine Freestyle. Katie has titled several dogs in K9 Nose Work and continues to enjoy competing in this sport.

Katie enjoys teaching and assisting many classes at Gentle Touch Pet Training including Nose Work, Puppy Preschool, Elementary Clicker Classes, and Feisty Fido’s. In addition to helping with classes on site at GTPT, she enjoys working with clients in their home with private training and behavior sessions for Gentle Touch. And, many of you have probably talked to Katie on the phone as she also helps Teah with returning client phone calls.

Katie says that she enjoys teaching and assisting in a variety of classes at Gentle Touch. “The dogs and people are fantastic and I feel privileged to be part of their journey together.”

Darcy Larkin, CNWI

Darcy found clicker training and Gentle Touch Pet Training in 2005.  She had the pleasure of growing up with many dogs, most of these dogs were homeless and welcomed into her family.  She never did any formal training with her dogs until she got her Rat Terrier, Buddy.  She had never had a dog quite like him and needed to find help for him.  She was hooked after her first class. Clicker training has truly changed the way she lives and works with her dogs.  All of her dogs have been rescues and she believes clicker training has helped them to become more confident and happy dogs. She is always looking for new games to play with them and she is always amazed at how willing they are to play.

She began assisting in a variety of classes at Gentle Touch several years ago.  In 2010, she began instructing agility classes and elementary clicker classes.  She also began private instruction.  In 2011, she entered the Canine Nose Work Instructor Certification Program and completed her certification as a CNWI in February of 2012.  She now also teaches all levels of Nose Work classes at Gentle Touch.

She enjoys training and participating in dog sports with her mixed breed dog, Keeper.  She does both Nose Work and agility.  Both of these sports have challenged and helped her grow and succeed as an instructor, trainer, and handler. The past several years have deepened her understanding of dogs and given her better insight into how to effectively communicate, motivate, work and live with dogs.

Keeper has obtained several agility titles and in December of 2012,  achieved her NW3 title.

Currently, Darcy lives with two dogs, Buddy and Keeper, and Bob the cat.  Buddy also does Nose Work and loves to do tricks but prefers the comfort of home to competition.

Darcy attends agility, Nose Work, and dog training seminars and workshops as often as possible.  She has participated in many conferences hosted by Gentle Touch Pet Training, including Kay Laurence, Ken Ramirez, Patricia McConnell, Michele Poulliot, and Steve White.  She has attended several Nose Work instructor workshops taught by the founding members of  the NACSW, and has travelled to attend annual conferences sponsored by the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT), as well as Karen Pryor’s Clicker Expo.

Her goals are to continue learning about dogs, listening to dogs, having fun with dogs and helping others to do the same.

Lisa Nichols, CGC Evaluator

Lisa started taking classes in 2003 and then eventually started assisting Teah with classes in 2005. She regularly attends seminars by some of the world’s best trainers including Kay Laurence, Ken Ramirez, Steve White and Patricia McConnell. Lisa says she always enjoys learning more about training and understanding more about what makes our dogs tick. She and her dogs have sampled many classes including basic training, Rally-O, Conformation, Freestyle, and most recently the new sport of K9 Nose Work. Lisa is one of our excellent trainers who works with families doing in-home private training sessions.  Behind the scenes, Lisa also does tons of work helping Teah keep all her paperwork and computer info up to date.

Like many of our clients, Lisa has learned to balance a family life with raising dogs. She currently shares her life with her husband, four children and three dogs. Two of the dogs are Bernese Mountain Dogs (Murphy & Guinness) and one is a herding dog mix (Sorcha-bean).

Lisa enjoys helping with classes because she likes helping other pet dog owners find the balance (through positive training, compassion, and understanding) that allows their dogs to live harmoniously with them inside their home.

Becky Pesicka, CPDT-KA, CNWI, CATT, CGC Evaluator

Becky has been training professionally since 2010. In that time she has garnered several training certifications and established herself as a reputable and skilled trainer, specializing in behavior modification. Always eager to learn more, Becky is constantly looking for ways to improve her training and bring new information to her students. Having trained and temperament tested thousands of dogs, she is an expert in dog body language and behavior. She has helped pet owners all over the United States and internationally as well.

Her experience includes shelter work, group classes, private training, aggression, nutrition, service dog training, Nose Work, Agility, Treibball, and everything in between.  She has consulted for other trainers on new class curriculum and given numerous lectures and demos. In 2014 she re-established the agility program and founded the Nose Work program at the Pasadena Humane Society while writing the curriculum and training the staff.Read More...

Her experience training service dogs includes being certified as a Diabetic Alert Dog trainer. She has also trained dogs for service veterans with PTSD, as well as for mobility assistance and a range of other tasks.

She is also on the forefront of many new dog sports, including being one of the first 100 Treibball trainers certified in the US. Becky has also trained with the founders of Nose Work and became a Certified Nose Work Instructor in 2015.

Becky believes that training should be fun, for both handler and dog. Positive methods, rewards, consistency, accurate timing, games, and defined rules are among her keys to success.

Becky is a Los Angeles area native and has been training professionally in the La Crescenta/Pasadena area since 2010. In 2015 she moved her training business to San Luis Obispo with her husband and two dogs, an Australian Cattle Dog mix, Buck, and a Rottweiler, Riley. They frequently have new playmates as boarding dogs come and go. She still has many clients in LA and makes frequent weekend trips for private lessons.

Becky and Buck have given Agility, Nose Work, and Treibball demos in front of hundreds of people. Buck also has his Canine Good Citizen (CGC) and has his Nose Work Two (NW2) title. Riley (aka Black Bear), has just started her NW training and has already mastered laying underneath the air conditioner after searching.  Katie has been around dogs and dog training her entire life. From a very young age, Katie was taught how to live and work with dogs by her Mother, who raised and competed in Conformation and Obedience with Boxers. Because dogs have always been a big part of her life, she feels that training is essential for a harmonious relationship.


Denny Pontes-Tull, CAP1


Denny has been with Teah at Gentle Touch Pet Training since 2000, and was one of the very first students to begin assisting/apprenticing with classes and now teaches a Competitive Heelwork/Relationship Seminar and assists many other classes including Puppy Preschool and Feisty Fido’s. Denny competes in 7 different dog sports and each year, attends numerous seminars given by competitors at the top of their field, with an emphasis on building motivation for Competitive Obedience and Agility. Denny has earned a CAP1 (Competency Assessment Program – Level 1) through Kay Laurence’s Learning About Dogs in the UK.

Denny’s world has always been richly populated with all kinds of animals, both wild, tame and exotics. Growing up with two brothers in the U.S. Forest Service meant at any time their could be a falcon, or owl or baby deer taking up temporary residence on the back porch until they could be transported to a rehab center. Denny was also deeply involved all through her childhood in 4-H and FFA. She became a teen leader in Rabbitry and Horse Programs. There were always hunting dogs in her family and Denny loved them dearly and taught them (and all the neighbor dogs as well) many amazing tricks as a child. Her Dad was not too amused when she taught his hunting dogs to climb all the way up the ladder onto the house’s roof top at which point Cody and Ben would howl mercilessly until someone came and rescued them. It’s not easy hauling 75 lb. German Shorthair/Lab down a ladder!

Denny’s early passion was horses, and as a teen worked everyday after school on several local horse ranches starting, showing and fitting horses for the ring. She was finally allowed to purchase her own horse, a Saddlebred/Arab whom she showed to several Trail and Hunt Seat championships in local shows. Denny later worked several years for a very successful Paint horse ranch in Santa Ynez, handling breeding stallions and colts.

For the more than 25 years, Denny has found deep spiritual satisfaction working in the Geriatric health care field as a Social Service/Animal Assisted Visits Director at Santa Maria Care Center. She is daily awed and humbled by those she cares for. “They have already survived the worst things you can imagine, loss of a spouse, loss of a child, loss of their homes and health and friends. They have faced down their fear and sorrow and conquered it. What they have to teach us is how to live.” Many of the residents love animals, and actually help Denny clicker train her show and therapy dogs who visit there daily. The residents have also had visits form a Burmese Python, a Royal Python, a Cockatoo a Macaw, and several giant monitor lizards from Denny’s menagerie over the years.

Denny’s life is currently filled with several VERY special dogs, which along with her VERY tolerant husband, Bob, she considers her wisest and dearest friends. She has titled many dogs including: a wolf hybrid, two Bull Terriers, a pound rescue field bred English Pointer, and a 7 inch, 5 pound Chihuahua in various disciplines, including: Conformation, Obedience, Agility, Earthdog, Musical Freestyle, Rally Obedience, and Certified Therapy dog work.

Here are Denny’s and her dog’s wonderful accomplishments:

  • Morticia (Miniature Bull Terrier) – Morticia was the top Miniature Bull Terrier in AKC Agility in 2010.  She has achieved her Nose Work 1 Title and is very close to having her Nose Work 2 title!  She was the first Miniature Bull Terrier in history to have a title in Musical Canine Freestyle. She also has achieved a Rally Excellent title.  She now does CAT (Coursing Ability Tests) Lure Coursing and has achiever her CAT title and is now half way to her 2nd level title. She has done Earthdog Terrier Racing and Barn Hunt Competitions.  She competes at the Master’s Level in AKC Agility.  Morticia adores all people and believes no lap should go “un-sat” in!
  • Twitchy (field bred English Pointer) – Twitchy was an hysterical, untrained, un-housebroken adult adoptee from Santa Barbara County Animal Health and Regulation in Santa Maria. Despite neurological and physical challenges, Twitchy has achieved her Rally Excellent title, her CD and almost, her CDX.
  • Cucuy aka Cooie (a 7 inch tall Chihuahua) – And keeping them all safe…this only guy in the pack, who in his heart and mind is Giant Mastiff, is a well-loved sight at agility trials, often mistaken for a gopher on the course, and often winning against dogs almost double his height. Coo has achieved his Nose Work1 Title, Rally Excellent title, and his AX, AXJ Excellent level titles and competes at Master Level in AKC agility. He is a VERY big personality in a tiny gray body!
  • Scout (Chihuahua – Cucuy’s daughter) – has achieved her Nose Work 1 title and is beginning Lure Coursing and Agility.
  • Finkie (Chihuahua – Scout’s Mom) – is a Therapy Dog extraordinaire and loves to be held by anyone, anywhere.  Finkie is beginning her AKC Agility career; she dabbles in Nose Work and Lure Coursing.

Now having passed over the Rainbow Bridge:

  • Frighty or Ch. Ardry’s Frightfully Fun! (Bull Terrier) – Achieved her Breed Championship and her Open Agility title. Fright is the first Bull Terrier in history to achieve a Rally Excellent title and the first ever of her breed to have a Musical Canine Freestyle title. She was also a certified Therapy dog with over 600 visits. Fright is also one of very few Bull Terriers to have achieved a CD title. She is one of only 5 Bull Terriers in the breed to achieve a Versatility Award of Excellence. Fright and Denny won High In Trial in Obedience at the Bull Terrier Nationals in October of 2009.
  • Ice (Malamute /Husky /Wolf) – Achieved her U-CD Obedience title and Open NADAC agility titles.

None Denny’s dogs are what you’d commonly call “trainable” breeds, and several began with fear, motivation, physical challenges and ADD issues, but Clicker Training has been the key that leveled the field for all of them, not just to learn but to excel at some really difficult endeavors. Denny says her greatest joy is in spending time with these amazing friends, and in helping others to see the magic, intelligence and joy their own dogs have to share with them.


Betty Scattini, CNWI, CGC Evaluator

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 was the primary trainer of the family and every dog was enrolled in obedience and conformation classes. Uncomfortable with the methods of training in the 1970’s and 80’s, she intuitively praised her dogs and let them know when they had done something right.

Betty has been an officer of both an all-breed AKC kennel club and the national Rhodesian Ridgeback breed

club. She has taught conformation classes for her local kennel club as well as informal classes for other fanciers.  Sometime after Rally-O was introduced as an AKC sport, Betty taught her ridgebacks the basics which enabled them to title easily in the Novice Rally-O class, each of them earning first placements with high scores.

In 2000, with a young, very intelligent ridgeback who needed positive motivation and a job to do, Betty stumbled upo

In Teah’s clicker class and knew she had found a way of training she could wholeheartedly embrace. Shortly thereafter, she also discovered the sport of dog agility and those two experiences have shaped her life since then.

Having clicker trained her ridgebacks in agility for the past twelve years, it was fun and natural for Betty to begin assisting in the novice agility classes at Gentle Touch.  She has also assisted with the Puppy Preschool, Puppy Enrichment, Elementary Clicker Training, Feisty Fido, Rally-O, and Nose Work classes.  Betty is now teaching Nose Work Classes and helping with in-home private sessions.

Her latest passion, K9 Nose Work, is a relatively new sport which is offered at Gentle Touch. Betty has completed a one-year program with NACSW and is now a CNWI (Certified Nose Work Instructor).  Betty and her dogs have been taking classes for several years and compete in trials at every opportunity. Her second ridgeback to compete in Nose Work, Ranger, is currently working towards earning his NW3 title. At ten years old, it is a fun and exciting sport for Ranger which keeps his mind engaged and is easy on his aging body.

The newest workshop being offered at Gentle Touch is one that Betty is very enthusiastic about and has been involved with since its inception. Offered several times a year, it is an intensive 16-hour workshop on therapy dog 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.

Betty has long been interested in learning the various theories of dog training. She has attended seminars given by Ken Ramirez, Kay Laurence, Ron Gaunt, Elicia Calhoun, Chris Bach and others. She has read many books on general dog training, clicker training, and positive motivation and has used that knowledge with the dogs she helps to train.


Ivy Underdahl, CAP1, CNWI, CGC Evaluator

Ivy Underdahl is one of the trainers at Gentle Touch Pet Training in Arroyo Grande, California. After taking her dogs through GTPT from Puppy Kindergarten to advanced training, she began interning for the owner, Teah Anders. After a year or so of internship at GTPT, she began assisting in the classes. Eventually Teah recommended Ivy start teaching one of the beginning classes.

Many years later, Ivy looks back on those events as true life-changing moments. She now either assists or teaches Puppy Preschool, Puppy Enrichment, Clicker High, Elementary, Clicker Class, Canine Musical Freestyle, and Clicker Conformation Handling Classes! Ivy is an AKC CGC (Canine Good Citizen) evaluator and administers evaluations at GTPT and community events. Ivy has earned a CAP1 (Competency Assessment Program – Level 1) through Kay Laurence’s Learning About Dogs in the UK.

Ivy owns and breeds Swedish Vallhunds. Her eldest dog, Blaze, is the dog-love of her life, and the two of them traveled all over the country to agility shows, and breed specialties. They have traveled many hours to attend herding workshops, regional specialties, herding trials, agility trials, Canine Musical Freestyle Titling Events, as well as Rally-O, and Clicker Training seminars. She attributes her dog’s trainability not only to the breed (Swedish Vallhunds—a herding breed) but to the amazing gift of positive reinforcement and the use of clicker training. It has changed her relationship with animals, and fostered a communication previously unimaginable to her.

All of her dogs have been clicker trained since about the age of 9 weeks. Since clicker training is fun for dogs, her dogs love to be trained, therefore they have all participated in a number of dog sports and competitions including: Herding, Agility, Canine Musical Freestyle, Rally, Nose Work, and Conformation.

Ivy has been involved in breeding Swedish Vallhunds, and now has over 11 AKC Champions from her Solborg Swedish Vallhund kennel. Two of her breeding have been invited to and shown at Westminster Kennel Club!

Of all the sports her dog Blaze has participated in, K9 Nose Work is his absolute favorite. Ivy thinks it’s her favorite too, simply because it is the one true sport where dogs do what dogs do best….use their noses to find things! How great is that?!?

Ivy has always maintained that if it were not for this method of training coming into her life when it did, she would probably not own dogs. Clicker training and the use of positive reinforcement have definitely changed her life, especially since these methods can also be used in daily interactions with her own species!

Carol Wissler

Caorl-1Carol is someone who is relatively new to dog training, but has always had a passion for all animals, and in particular, dogs.  She grew up with numerous cats, a Daschund named Molly, various fish, and four Mallard ducks.  When other kids were reading Seventeen magazine, she poured through each new issue of Dog Fancy and memorized the dog breeds in The Encyclopedia of the Dog.

It was her cat, Draco, who first got her interested in clicker training in 2006.  As a kitten, Draco was prone to mischief (he still is…) and with the help of a book on how to clicker train cats, Carol was able to channel some of that energy into a few basic behaviors.

Carol adopted her first dog, Hoagie, a corgi/border collie cross, in 2009.  As a two year old rescue, Hoagie was bright and happy, but had a number of issues to work through, including on-leash reactivity towards other dogs, and the absence of any kind of recall.  In training him, it quickly became apparent that any form of forceful training only made his behavior worse.  Looking for an alternative to force based training, Carol started to read every dog training and behavior book, video, and article she could get her hands on.

It was her past success with modifying Draco’s behavior that prompted her to try clicker training again.  Having started Hoagie in Rally Obedience training, she took Denny’s Heelwork Seminar at Teah’s facility to work on their technique, and became completely hooked on positive reinforcement training.  Something “clicked” in both Carol and Hoagie’s brains when they started clicking and treating, instead of pulling and resisting.  They’ve never looked back, and continue to enjoy heelwork, Rally Obedience, K9 Nose Work, and most recently Canine Freestyle.  In July 2011, Hoagie earned his very first title, an NW1 in Nose Work on his first try!  Carol and Hoagie continue to work towards a Rally Obedience title, higher Nose Work titles, and would like to continue shakin’ their groove things in Freestyle and Rally FrEe.

In 2011 Carol added a second dog to her family, a terrier mix named Pretzel.  He has definitely been a whole different training experience for this novice trainer, but clicker training from day one has made a huge difference.  His enthusiasm and zest for life has made him a pleasure to have around.  Carol recently started training Pretzel in agility, heelwork, and Nose Work.

Carol has been taking classes at Teah’s since 2010, and started assisting in 2012 with a variety of different classes.  She began teaching classes in 2013 and also puts her amazing skills to work helping families with in-home training sessions.  She loves helping people build a better relationship with their dogs, and can’t wait to see where dog training will take her.  She’s already attended outstanding workshops by Ken Ramirez and Michele Pouliot, as well as a number of NW seminars, and is always eager to learn more about the amazing relationship we share with our dogs.

Carol is a San Luis Obispo native with a B.A. in History from University of Delaware.  She is also currently working on her M.A. in Education at Chico State.  She lives in Nipomo with her very understanding husband Stew, her two cats, Draco and Basil Pesto, and her two dogs, Hoagie and Pretzel.


 Training Assistants

Georgia Barr

Georgia’s family always had dogs so she had the pleasure of growing up around them. In Junior High School, she got a Cocker-mix that was her very own to train. Georgia went right to work teaching her tricks, including a somersault! In 1959, Georgia’s family moved to Nipomo. That’s when she got her first horse. Her dog always joined them on rides running along and sometimes chasing cats. To solve the problem, Georgia taught her to put her feet on the horse’s front leg and Georgia would lift her dog up on the horse where she would ride with her!

The first dog that Georgia formally trained was a hunting breed mix. She took her to a traditional Obedience class where she was trained using a choke collar. Georgia was not a fan, even then, of this method of training. At the class graduation, Georgia’s dog won first place. However, because she was a mixed breed, her options for showing or obedience were limited at that time.

When Georgia married and started her family, they were never without a family dog. She had a boarding kennel for dogs and cats for 17 years. She has also raised and bred Australian Terriers, Doberman Pinchers, and Australian Shepherds (not at the same time!). Her kids all had small dogs of their own at different times. Her youngest son had Cystic Fibrosis and was in and out of the hospital frequently. He was very kind hearted and loved dogs. His dogs would play with him when he was well and sit in bed for days when he was ill. His dogs were a great comfort to him.

For 12 years, Georgia worked with 4-H as a Dog Care Leader. She says, “she had the best kids and they made her very proud.” When she started with 4-H, all work was required to be on leash. Georgia was instrumental in changing the training program to allow for training to a higher level.

When Georgia got her Australian Shepherd, Dolly, that’s when she found Gentle Touch Pet Training. After taking a few basic clicker training classes, she won a free Musical Canine Freestyle class at the grand opening of the new training facility. That class marked the beginning of the most fun Georgia had experienced in training dogs. Georgia loves clicker training and in raising litters has even used it with puppies as young as three-weeks old!

Georgia now breeds, shows and trains miniature poodles. With her poodles, she has produced three AKC Champions, titled three in Rally Novice, and one in Rally Advance. All of Georgia’s dogs are also involved in Pet Therapy. Her plans for the future with her dogs include Obedience, Rally, Freestyle and Agility and the new sport of K9 Nose Work. Georgia substitute assists various classes at Gentle Touch Pet Training and enjoys sharing clicker training information with other dog lovers. Georgia frequently attends dog training seminars with top-notch trainers from around the country including Kay Laurence, Patricia McConnell, Ken Ramirez and more. In fact, you will often see Georgia helping “behind the scenes” with various details that help keep the events running smoothly! She also is a frequent participant in community events that benefit dogs and she loves to participate in public dog training demonstrations and competitions. The older she gets the more fun she’s having!

In addition to all she does with dogs, Georgia says “My life isn’t all dogs though as I do love my family and Grandchildren.”