Warm Hearts Network

Warm Hearts Network

Is your dog friendly, gentle, well-mannered and extremely socially motivated? If so, you and your dog may work together to touch the lives of those in need by being a Warm Hearts team!

The Warm Hearts Network is a group of trained volunteers and their dogs who provide Animal Assisted Activities and volunteer visiting teams in our community. Our human-animal teams are screened, evaluated and then registered to visit healthcare facilities, schools, senior living and activity centers, hospice and other locations. Your dog must:

  • Be two years or older
  • Have been a part of your family for 6 months or more
  • Display exceptional behavior and social personality traits
  • Be extraordinarily tolerant & well behaved in new environments
  • Know basic Obedience skills including sit, down, stay, come and heel and be able to perform them in distracting environments

Frequently, the Warm Hearts Network identifies adoptable shelter dogs as potential Warm Hearts team candidates. These dogs have been evaluated through an assessment testing and would be wonderful additions to the program as well as great family dogs. 

For more information on the Warm Hearts Network, or to inquire about becoming a Warm Hearts Team, contact [email protected]. View our calendar of events below.

The Process
Volunteer Visiting Teams

  1. Screening: No Fee
  2. WHN Coaching Class (by referral, for teams that need additional tips): Price dependent on instructor; details provided during screening.
  3. WHN Handlers’ Workshop (offered 3 times per year, must be completed by all teams hoping to test and repeated every four years for registered teams): $15 per one human-one dog team, or $25 for a couple with one dog.
  4. Veterinary Screening
  5. Team Testing: $10 per team (one dog/one human team); or $15 (two humans one dog)
  6. Registration for Volunteer Visiting Teams: $30 for 2 years per team; couple $50.
  7. Renewal for Volunteer Visiting Teams is every two years ($10 test fee, $30 registration). 
Screening (No Fee)
Sharing your dog with others can be a fun experience. In order to be successful, you and your dog should both enjoy going new places and meeting new people. A good human-dog team has excellent verbal and non-verbal communication. WHN teams have basic obedience training and interact with each other and community members in a calm and friendly manner. WHN teams use humane training and handling techniques, and do not rely on physical force such as pushing the dog’s hips into a sit position, using choke chains, or jerking the leash for compliance.

To qualify for a screening:

  • Dog is at least 2 years old
  • Dog has been part of your family for at least 6 months
  • Dog displays exceptional behavior and personality traits
  • Dog enjoys interactions with other people
  • Dog is not easily overwhelmed by novel noises, sights, touch, or smells
  • Dog can perform basic obedience skills including sit, come, down, stay, walk on a loose leash, walk by food on the ground without taking it, work in the presence of other dogs, and easily engage with a stranger
  • Dog does not wear a slip collar (“choke chain” whether metal or fabric), a prong/ pinch collar, an electronic shock collar (e-collar, stim collar, etc) or a head-halter (Gentle Leader® or HALTI style head collars) in order to maintain polite behavior in public
  • Dog responds quickly and accurately to cues in novel environments and with distractions
  • Person is attentive to their dog and knows their preferences for populations
  • Person can engage dog using calm voice
  • Person can predict or respond to dogs needs

If your team CAN demonstrate the above skills in familiar and unfamiliar environments with distractions present, you can begin the process by registering for screening. A list of planned screening dates can be found at the bottom of this page. Space is limited for each screening, and registration may close if capacity is reached. There is no charge for the screening. If the team does not pass screening, they may be referred for ongoing training, and must be rescreened prior to testing.

To register for a screening, please email [email protected] and include the following information:

  • Your name, email, and phone number,
  • Your dog’s name, breed, age, sex (neutered/spayed), how long you have had the dog,
  • What training you and your dog have had and where,
  • Veterinarian’s name and phone number,
  • Any other information you feel will be helpful in our evaluation.

If you or your dog are NOT quite ready to complete the screening, and you would like some classes (fee for service) we recommend the following:

Animal Humane offers a variety of classes to suit your needs.

For the Warm Hearts Network, we recommend Civilized Canine Level I and Level II (recommended) and Civilized Canine Level III (optional but encouraged). (Please note that this class teaches dogs to behave in public, but your pet only has access into establishments that allow pets, this is not a public access class for service dogs.) You may visit Animal Humane’s online training calendar register for a class.

Click with Your Dog – This is a 6 week basic training class in a group setting. Learn all the basics for Warm Hearts Network or general skills with your new family member. Location: Animal Humane New Mexico (615 Virginia St. SE). Contact Jennifer Allen directly to schedule [email protected].

For any additional questions, please contact [email protected]

About Our Courses

WHN Handlers’ Workshop – Cost $15.00

Once you have passed screening, you will register for the Handlers’ Course preceding the next testing. The Handlers’ Course typically take place 3 times a year, 1-2 weeks prior to testing. All new teams MUST attend the Handlers’ Course prior to testing.

Register for the Handlers’ Workshop by emailing the direct contact provided to you by WHN volunteers following your screening, or by emailing [email protected]


This is an entry-level course for humans; dogs do not attend this class. During this full day workshop, we will discuss the personal tools needed by you and your dog to be successful as a volunteer visiting team. Attendees will learn more about Warm Hearts Network program specifics, dog handling and visit responsibilities and skills, patient/client interactions, policies and procedures, and be able to review test items one last time before testing day.

This workshop is $15.00 per human. Checks are made out to Warm Hearts Network and brought to the class.

For additional questions, please contact [email protected]

Click With Your Dog Testing Prep Class – Cost $100

This class is designed for teams who attended screening but are not quite ready to move to testing, or for teams who have not attended screening but are working specifically to become a visiting dog team with Warm Hearts.

These prep classes are taught by a private trainer in partnership with Warm Hearts Network. The classes typically include 6 weeks of instruction for $100. Behaviors taught are those needed to be successful during the Warm Hearts Network test.

To sign up for this class, contact Jennifer Allen, KPA directly at [email protected].


WHN Evaluation
Fee: Visiting Team $10.00

The team will be guided through a series of activities in which they demonstrate practical application of skills and knowledge that are frequently encountered in a volunteer visiting environment. All activities must receive a passing score for the team to become a REGISTERED member of the WHN. All new teams receive clearance to visit in a predictable, low activity environment.

For any additional questions, please contact [email protected].

  • Registration for Volunteer Visiting Teams: $30 for 2 years per team; couple $50
  • Renewal for Volunteer Visiting Teams is every 2 years ($10 test fee, $30 registration)

Upon successful passing evaluation scores, a team registers as a member of WHN. The team is asked to ensure their team is identified as a member by wearing identification:

  • Photo ID (required)
  • Bandana or Vest (required)
  • T-Shirts for Humans (optional)

The team will then complete mentorship sessions and then select an approved location for regular visiting or professional work. The visiting teams must re-test every 2 years or if there is a change in environment, population or health of the dog.

For any additional questions, please contact [email protected].

After a team has successfully completed testing, they will be assigned a mentor to shadow. The human partner will shadow a seasoned team for a visit to see the process, the policies and procedures in action. If need be, the human can request numerous visits with a mentor and may ask to bring their dog to shadowing (after the first visit).

For any additional questions, please contact [email protected].

Warm Hearts Network Calendar

[add_eventon_list number_of_months=”12″ hide_past=”yes” event_type=”451″ hide_empty_months=”yes” ]
Date/Time Event
11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Warm Hearts Network - Screening (Summer) - FULL
Animal Humane New Mexico – Main Campus, Albuquerque New Mexico
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Warm Hearts Network - Handlers' Workshop (Summer)
Animal Humane New Mexico – Main Campus, Albuquerque New Mexico
9:00 am - 2:00 pm
Warm Hearts Network - Team Testing (Summer)
11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Warm Hearts Network - Screening (Fall)
Animal Humane New Mexico – Main Campus, Albuquerque New Mexico
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Warm Hearts Network - Handlers' Workshop (Fall)
Animal Humane New Mexico – Main Campus, Albuquerque New Mexico
9:00 am - 2:00 pm
Warm Hearts Network - Team Testing (Fall)