This is an important part of the behind-the-scenes work at the Shelter. Behavior Team Members test each dog before it goes into adoption to help make the best match possible for animals and adopters. These behavior tests give adoption counselors and potential adopters information to help make a lifetime decision.

Behavior Hot Line

Having problems with your pet? Don’t don’t lose hope. Call our Behavior Department helpline immediately: 983-4309, ext 1251.

Training & Behavior Classes

Training classes

The shelter offers a series of training classes for adult dogs throughout the year. The hour-long classes run for six weeks and cover basic training, such as set, stay, down, leave it, along with leash work and at least one trick. Owners will come away with a sense of how dogs learn, how to teach them and how to troubleshoot troublesome behaviors or issues that are happening at home.

Class size is limited to six dogs; the first class is held without dogs.

The cost of the course is $200; shelter dogs who have been adopted within one year are eligible for a 50 percent discount.

Here’s a lineup of currently scheduled classes:

Basic Clicker Class

6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 17, runs for six sessions (No class Sept. 14.) Cost: $200

Intermediate Clicker Class

6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 15, runs for six weeks. Cost: $200

Canine Good Citizen Class

12:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19, runs for six sessions (No class Saturday, Sept. 16.) Cost: $200. Includes test fee

Rock Solid Recall Class

10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 2, runs for six sessions (No class Saturday, Sept. 16.) Cost: $200

STAR Puppy Class

4 p.m. Sunday, July 30, runs for six weeks. Cost: $200


The classes are taught by the shelter’s behavior trainers. For more information about current classes, contact our Behavior and Training Department at 983-4309, ext. 1251, or email

To download an application for adult basic training classes, please click SFAS training class contract form; For adult basic training classes offered by Emily Burlingame, please click SFAS Basic Training Class Agreement Emily Burlingame. Please bring the application to the shelter, or fax the completed form to 505-820-6901.

Puppy courses offered at shelter

The Santa Fe Animal Shelter has revamped its popular puppy classes and will now offer six-week puppy training courses.

The new series of classes are offered on a regular basis and are held in the shelter’s Roddey Burdine Rehabilitation Center, located behind the shelter’s main buildings. The course is based on the American Kennel Club’s STAR certification, which offers incentives to dog owners.

The STAR program, led by the shelter’s lead trainer, Emily Burlingame, offers organized training classes aimed at socializing puppies to other dogs, people and everyday situations. Dog owners also get information about puppy-raising questions, such as housetraining, chewing and practical skills.

The certification is a natural lead into the AKC Good Citizen Program.

The six-week long course costs $200, but dogs adopted from a shelter are eligible for 50 percent. Scholarships are available. The classes are open to dogs 16 weeks of age and younger.

“We don’t want to turn anyone away,” Burlingame said. “Puppy classes are critical to a dog’s development.”

For more information or to reserve a spot, please call 505-983-4309, ext. 1152. To download an application, please click Puppy class training agreement. Bring the application to the shelter, or fax the completed form to 505-820-6901 or email it to

Bringing a puppy home for the first time? Check out this infographic – it’ll help make the process go smoother!

An infographic on what to do when you adopt a dog.

Behavior Library

Please download the The Behavior Helpline if you have experiencing behavior problems with your companion animal. Choose a topic:
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