Behavior Team Members assess each animal before he/she is made available for adoption to help make the best match possible for animals and adopters. These behavior assessments give adoption counselors and potential adopters information to help make a lifelong decision.

Behavior Helpline

Are you experiencing a behavior challenge with your pet? Please fill out our Helpline Questionnaire to receive the fastest support. You can also leave a message on our Behavior Helpline, 505-983-4309, ext. 1251 or email us at

You can also check out our Behavior Library for information and advice regarding some common behavioral questions and situations, including introducing a new pet into your home.  Enjoy this New Dog Guide that spells out how to bring a new dog home.

Training & Behavior Classes

If you would like class availability information or to sign up for a class, please e-mail  You can also download the SFAS Training Class Agreement here.   Classes are 50% off for any dogs adopted from any shelter within a year of starting class.

Puppy Training Classes

STAR Puppy

This course incorporates socialization, handling and fundamental behaviors to set your puppy up to be an excellent community member.  The course is based on the American Kennel Club’s STAR certification and is open to puppies under 5 months of age and 35 lbs. Dog owners get information about puppy-raising questions, such as housetraining, chewing, practical skills and fun training games. The certification is a natural lead into the AKC Good Citizen Program.

•Saturdays starting October 13th, 2-3pm, runs for 6 sessions. Cost $200.

Teen Training Classes


This class is designed to help owners of teenage dogs who still need some basic training and socialization but are too old for the puppy class. This class will continue their socialization and training journey. The class will have a designated socialization period as well as basic training of behaviors. For dogs under a year old, AKC STAR Puppy certification is available.

•Wednesdays starting October 17th, 5:30-6:30pm, runs for 5 sessions. Cost $200.

Adult Training Classes


This class has all the building blocks to teach your dog to be a well behaved, well mannered dog. This class teaches basic commands, cues, polite leash walking and basic recall. This class is a prerequisite for all other adult classes offered (except Reactive).

•Sundays starting August 26th, 1-2pm, runs for six sessions. Cost $200.
•Saturdays starting September 1st, 11am-12pm, runs for six sessions. Cost $200.
•Thursdays starting October 4th, 5:30-6:30pm, runs for six sessions. Cost $200.

Real Life Skills

This class takes your basic skills and builds on them, focusing on the 3D’s: Distance, Distraction & Duration.   This class is focused on teaching your dogs the skills that they will need to succeed out in the distracting world.
Prerequisite: Basic.

•Tuesdays starting September 4th, 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM, runs for five sessions, Cost $200.

Canine Good Citizen

This class is centered around the 10 testing elements for the Canine Good Citizen title.  This class fine tunes skills learned in Basic through the use of games and distractions so that owners and dogs can pass the CGC certification on the final class.  Prerequisite: Basic Adult, STAR Puppy, Teen, or Real Life Skills.

•Wednesdays starting September 5th, 5:45-6:45pm, runs for six sessions. Cost $250.

Reactive Rover
What is reactivity? A “reactive dog” is one that becomes emotionally charged when he or she sees other dogs or novel items. Some become extremely excited to the point of appearing threatening. Others become fearful or anxious and some even become defensive. This class is designed to teach dogs and guardians the skills they need to help handle the scary and frustrating experience of reactive behavior.

•Saturdays starting August 18th, 11am-12pm, runs for six sessions. Cost $250.
Saturdays starting October 13th, 3:30-4: 30 pm, runs for six sessions. Cost $250.

Parks & Trails

New Mexico has a vast amount of outdoor opportunities to enjoy with your dog. This class is taught in different locations around Santa Fe, including parks and trails, so you can get experience and confidence with your dog. This class will teach you what skills you and your dog need to be successful partners in the New Mexico’s parks and wilderness. Prerequisite: Basic Adult, STAR Puppy, Teen, or Real Life Skills.

•Saturdays starting October 13th, 10am-11am, runs for six sessions. Cost $300.