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If you have any questions we haven’t answered here, please email us at or contact us here.

General Questions

What kinds of service dogs does ADW train?

  • Mobility Dogs
  • Seizure Response Dogs
  • Autism Dogs
  • Medical Alert Dogs for Type I Diabetes
  • Veteran PTSD Dogs
  • Social Therapy Dogs
  • Facility Dogs
  • Courthouse Facility Dogs
  • Crisis Response Canines

ADW does not train leader dogs for people who are blind or hearing dogs for people who are deaf.

What breeds do you use and why?

Most often, we use Labradors and Golden retrievers because of their innate interest in retrieving, good work ethic and cheerful dispositions. We have also used Labradoodles and have worked with a number of different breeds through the Owner/Self-Training program.

How long are the dogs in training?

Most of our dogs are in training for 18 to 24 months, and usually placed with a client when they are around 2 years old.

I want to become an assistance dog trainer. Can ADW teach me?

Unfortunately, we do not have a program to teach others how to become dog trainers. Most of our training staff received their education at Bergin University of Canine Studies. We suggest that you explore their website to learn how to get started.

Prospective Clients

How do I apply for an ADW dog?

Please review the eligibility requirements to begin the application process.

How long is your waiting list?

Although the ADW waiting list is shorter than many service dog organizations, it averages one to three years to make a client/dog match. Client/dog interviews are conducted on a regular basis during this time to assess needs and potential matches.

How much does it cost to get a dog from ADW?

Clients pay for the services provided by ADW. The breakdown of when fees are due is listed on the client application.  In total, it costs ADW about $33,500 to raise and train each dog. ADW asks clients to pay for the client services as follows:

Autism/Mobility/Veteran PTSD: $7,500 in state / $10,000 out of state   ***ADW frequently has funding support for Veteran applicants***
Diabetic Alert / Seizure Response: $15,000
Psychiatric Support (civilian PTSD, anxiety, depression): $18,000
Facility, Courthouse, Crisis Response Dogs: $12,000

Do you place dogs out-of-state?

Sometimes. All out-of-state placements are considered on a case-by-case basis. Applicants should be aware that they must be able to travel to Santa Fe for the client process, which includes an intake interview, multiple dog-matching interviews, and a two-week long Client Placement Training. We are not able to offer  Friday, weekend or evening appointments.  Travel, lodging, and other expenses are the responsibility of the applicant. If you live outside of New Mexico, we strongly recommend that you first attempt to locate an organization closer to your geographical region. See the Assistance Dogs International website for a list of ADI-accredited and member agencies across the country.  **ADW does not place Diabetic Alert dogs out-of-state.**

Do you place dogs with kids?

ADW places assistance dogs with kids who are 5 years and older at the time of application.

What is the application process?

The Client Placement process basically consists of three stages:

1. Application & Intake
The applicant completes and application, and then has an intake interview with ADW staff. (Approx. 2-4 months to complete this process)

2. Interview Process
If accepted, the client begins to participate in Interview Appointments, to identify the correct dog match. (Approx. 1-3 years to complete this process)

3. Client Placement Training
The client participates in Client Placement Training, which teaches the client to work correctly and effectively with their service dog partner. (Two weeks to complete this process)

For a full list of steps involved in client placement, facility team placement, and owner/self-training, please request an application packet where the process is described in full. Please review the eligibility requirements to begin the application process.


I have a dog that I would like to train to be my assistance dog. Can you help?

ADW offers an Owner/Self-Training program for people who already have their own dog.  Dogs should be under 3 years of age and must pass a temperament assessment to participate in this program. ADW cannot guarantee that every dog that enters OST program will achieve the standards necessary to be a service dog. This program takes place in Santa Fe, New Mexico and requires weekly in-person training sessions.  Owner/Self-Training teams must work with ADW for a minimum of six months (on average, most OST teams require 12-18 months of training with ADW to achieve the skills necessary for Public Access).

Certification and Registration

How can I get my dog certified or registered as an assistance dog?

Currently, there is no state or federal requirement for certification or registration of service dogs. To qualify as a service dog, the dog must be individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability and have appropriate behavior in public places. ADW offers an Owner/Self-Training program for people who would like assistance training their dog as an assistance dog.

Can I purchase a vest or ID cards from ADW?

ADW only supplies vests and ID cards to teams that have completed the Client Placement or Owner/Self-Training program.

I have an emotional support dog and want to take her into public.

Per the Americans with Disabilities Act, dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals, and therefore do not have access to places of public accommodation. (Visit this link for more information.)

I am moving/traveling to another country, but they require my service dog be certified by an ADI-accredited agency. Can you help?

Please take a look at our Owner/Self-Training program. Owner/Self-Training teams must work with ADW for a minimum of six months. The weekly training sessions take place at our facility in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Student Programs

Where do the after school classes take place?

Wednesdays:  LA MARIPOSA MONTESSORI, 18 Puesta Del Sol, Santa Fe, NM 87508

Thursdays – ADW OFFICE, 1590 San Mateo Lane, Santa Fe, NM 87505

My child is 7, but will be turning 8 soon. Can I enroll him/her for class?

ADW requires that students be at least 8 years old by the first day of class in order to enroll in after school.

Can I bring my dog?

We love your pets, but our liability does not cover dogs even when dropping off or picking up. Only program dogs are allowed in the building.

Can I stay with my child during class?

We are happy to offer a one-time 15-minute sneak preview for parents or caregivers at the beginning of the 1st day of class.

What should my child wear?

Comfortable clothing that they don’t mind getting dog hair on, and sensible shoes.

Donating and Volunteering

Where can I send my tax-deductible donation?

Assistance Dogs of the West

PO Box 31027
Santa Fe , NM 87594
PHONE: 505-986-9748 Fax: 505.989.9640

Click here to donate securely now

What if I don’t have cash to give?

There are many other types of non-cash gifts which can be considered as a contribution: securities, personal property, equipment, real estate, life insurance, fine art, etc. In-kind gifts of products and services also help to reduce ADW costs.
We would be happy to work with you and your financial advisor to help you make a contribution that meets your charitable needs. Planned giving is also a way to leave ADW a program sustaining gift.  Please contact the ADW office with any questions.

How can I volunteer?

From Puppy Raisers and Puppy Sitters to administrative help and special events, we are looking for talented and enthusiastic dog lovers. Find out more about our opportunities.