How long has Cell Dogs been in the business of training dogs?

We started working with shelter dogs and correctional institutions in 2007 and have since implemented six programs at institutions serving either incarcerated adults or minors. Some members of our organization have been training dogs for over 25 years. Collectively, we have 100+ years of training experience.

How are dogs selected for the program?

Shelter dogs are evaluated and temperament tested before they are chosen as program participants. We select dogs of all ages, sizes, shapes, and colors once they are deemed appropriate to get along with other dogs in that training cycle. It is not necessary for the dogs to have any prior training. In fact, most of our program dogs have had little or no previous training when we first meet them at the shelter.

How long before a dog is placed with an adoptive family?

Our basic obedience program involves 8–10 weeks of training, and the dogs are adopted when they complete that program. Training a service dog involves a minimum of 9–12 months, which includes basic and advanced training programs. They are placed when they pass the Public Access Test.

How do you review adoption applications?

We will call to chat with you about the dog you have selected if we believe he or she is the right fit for you and your family. We want to ensure that everyone’s personalities and energy levels are compatible. In taking the time to discuss your needs, we do our best to match you with a dog that will make you happy. We have successfully adopted hundreds of dogs to individuals with all types of housing and lifestyle arrangements.

What requirements does the adopter need to meet?

Each future adopter will need to submit a fully completed application form. We ask potential adopters to come meet their prospective “fur-ever” friend at our training location. If this meet-and-greet is successful, we request a 50% deposit to hold that dog specifically for you until the dog graduates from the program.

I’ve adopted a Cell Dog and need some guidance with training. Will you help?

Every Cell Dogs graduate is crate and potty-trained, knows all basic commands, and has a few cute tricks to show off. Since each adoption is a new beginning for all involved, some people may desire help after the dog has settled in at home. You can reach us at or (714) 747-6782 for a free consultation. If you need further assistance regarding one of our graduates (or non-graduates), we offer individual training sessions for a separate fee. We can also board your dog to address any issues. For these services, please contact our trainer Anna at or Lynn at

What types of services are the dogs trained to provide?

We train service dogs to support individuals with emotional, psychological or physical challenges or disabilities. Most recently, we have been training service dogs to support veterans and first responders with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The specific services will depend on the needs of the individual person, but our dogs often will know more than 50 commands.

Will Cell Dogs train my own dog to be a service dog? What about dogs for emotional support?

We do not currently train or certify non-program dogs to become service dogs. As for emotional support dogs already certified by a medical professional, we have developed a customized evaluation to determine whether the dog is suitable for further training to become a true service dog. The evaluation and training are provided at a separate fee. If this is something you are interested, please read our blog post carefully.

What is the cost for a pet or a service dog, and what does it include?

The requested donation for one of our trained shelter dogs (pets) is $600. This fee includes all program supplies and materials, as well as shelter and instructor fees. When the dogs graduate from our program, they are fully vaccinated, spayed or neutered, and have a microchip. They are crate and potty-trained, and know all their basic obedience commands along with a few cute tricks. All pups are also dewormed, and up to date on their monthly flea medication.

The actual cost for a fully trained service dog is about $30,000. We recognize that this cost is very high, and the requested donation will often be significantly lower thanks to generous donors supporting our community with emotional, psychological or physical challenges or disabilities. We offer scholarship opportunities and financial aid for eligible clients.

Why is it so expensive to train a service dog?

The actual cost for a fully trained service dog is about $30,000. This amount includes the various expenses associated with the basic obedience program, specialized medical screenings as well as our advanced service dog training program. Also included is the Partnership training (Once a proper client has been identified for a service dog, they must participate in a two-week Partnership Training Program, which involves personalized training with their service dog-in-training. The goal of Partnership Training is to certify you and your dog for public access). Financial aid is available for qualifying individuals.

I do not live in Southern California. Do you help with travel accommodations for Partnership Training?

Unfortunately, we do not provide reimbursement for your travel or hotel accommodations during service dog training.

I do not live in Southern California, can I still adopt a dog?

We do not provide out-of-state adoptions but we encourage you to research similar organizations closer to you to find your furry friend.