VIP’s Goal Oriented Therapy Teams (G.O.T. Dogs) are the Heart & Soul of our Organization

Together, you and your pet can bring joy and comfort to those who need it most!

VIP’s certified dog therapy teams provide Goal Oriented Therapy (G.O.T Dogs) to people dealing with emotional and physical life changes. They deliver positive distraction, motivation, empathy, and compassion.

VIP Dog Teams mission is to train therapy dogs to react and respond to people and their environment, under the guidance and direction of their owners our Therapy dogs can be used as part of animal-assisted therapy. We call these G.O.T. Dogs (Goal Oriented Therapy Dogs). G.O.T. Dogs aim to improve a person’s social, cognitive and emotional functioning along with providing affection and a sense of comfort to individuals

To become a certified team with VIP, you and your dog must be committed to completing our certification process.

Sounds great, right? Well, here’s what you need to know:

STEP 1: Pre-Requisites

You and your pet must meet the following general qualifications:

  • Dog must be at least 12 months old.
  • You must have owned your Dog for at least six months.
  • Dogs are required to have passed the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Test (CGC) within the last two years. A certified dog trainer must administer this. CLICK HERE to learn more about the CGC.
  • Dog must be in good health and have up to date rabies and vaccinations. Proof of current health certificate from your veterinarian is required at the time of application.
  • Dog must be non-reactive towards other dogs and must enjoy interacting with strangers.
  • Attend a VIP Dog Teams Orientation (for humans only), which are offered once a month.
  •  Click here to fill out the VIP Dog Teams Application



A black dog sitting on a planter.

STEP 2: VIP Dog Teams Evaluation and Certification Process

Register for an evaluation which will determine if you and your dog have the temperament and commitment to become a certified G.O.T. Dog therapy team with VIP.

Evaluations are administered by appointment. See the Calendar for the next test date and time.VIP Dog Teams asks for are donation fee of $10. If you do not pass the first time you can register for another one after more training has been completed. Copies of your dog’s health records and proof of vaccination must be provided at this time.

For more information about the next Therapy Dog Prep Class Click here

Or For more information about the VIP Dog Teams Evaluation and Certification call us at (805) 419-0677 or email us


Chief of Police with Therapy Dogs

STEP 3: Background Screening

VIP follows the background and screening requirements for the State of California and the California Health and Safety Code (CDSS) All volunteers over the age of 18 must submit and pay for a criminal background screening. Step by step instructions are provided after you pass the evaluation.

STEP 4: Membership

Membership fees are due upon passing Evaluation and background screening.

  • Annual Membership – $50 fee per therapy team (one dog and one handler) includes volunteer insurance coverage under our general liability insurance, VIP Certificate, one VIP t-shirt and one dog bandana.
  • Additional Dogs – $25 annual fee per additional dog.


STEP 5: Mentoring

Following the Background Screening you will complete a series of mentoring sessions with an experienced VIP Dog therapy team before volunteering on your own. This is to ensure you and your dog are comfortable and confident working in the field.

STEP 6: Volunteering

Depending on your location and the population you wish to serve, we will match you with a facility requesting our services. Group volunteer opportunities are also provided, which you can register for at your leisure. It is important to us that you are comfortable and happy in your assigned facility.


Pup Club

 STEP 7: Advanced Evaluation to Work With Children (Optional)

To honor our commitment to offer the highest level of quality and safety while interacting with children and/or special needs individuals, additional testing and screening is required.

Our Advanced Certification places your dog in “realistic” but controlled situations, to gauge his/her reaction. This ensures your dog is suited to interact with children and/or special needs individuals. Advanced Evaluations are offered once a quarter. For more information, call us at (805) 419-0677