About Us

a labrador retreiver in austin

At Total Dog!, we believe that dog training should be based on tried and true techniques, tailored to your dog, and delivered with passion. That’s why we staff some of the best dog trainers in Austin and San Antonio, and select and evaluate our trainers for a diverse range of training criteria. 

It’s also why we take professional certifications seriously. All of our dog trainers are AKC Certified by the American Kennel Club, and are certified members of the International Associations of Canine Professionals (IACP). Many of us are also K9 CPR and First Aid certified, as well. 

In addition to our professional Total Dog! dog trainers, all our dog training programs are supervised and developed by Sgt. Brice Cavanaugh, a certified dog behaviorist with over three-decades of dog training experience. Sgt. Cavanaugh has gone above and beyond to obtain formal education in animal behavior, and has the skills and experience to effectively teach you how to understand and work with your pet.

Our Mission

Total Dog!'s mission is to provide an educational, entertaining, friendly, efficient, and innovative experience that meets your dog training needs.

Looking at the voids present in modern dog training, the Total Dog! Team set out to create a dog training system predicated on the individual needs of the dog and the owner. That's why we don't rely on any one method of training, as we believe that with dogs being as unique as they are, the best way to serve them is by using any humane methods available.

At Total Dog!, we want to help you to get the most out of your relationship with your dog, and believe that dog training should be fun, easy, and accessible. We'll teach you how your dog processes information, what their needs are, and how you can bring balance back into their lives, so that they're eager to build a fulfilling relationship with you.

Dogs have long been called Man’s Best Friend…we can show you how to return the favor!

Certifications & Endorsements

Meet The Team

picture of Brice
Brice Cavanaugh
Owner, Total Dog!
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portrait of Haley
Haley
Administrator
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Cass with her dog
Cassandra
Professional Dog Trainer
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Melinda with her two dogs
Melinda
Professional Dog Trainer
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Mercedes
Professional Dog Trainer
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Brice Cavanaugh

Owner, Total Dog! | Professional Dog Trainer | AKC Evaluator

Sgt Brice Cavanaugh currently owns Total Dog! and he is on the Board of Directors for the National Tactical Police Dog Association, Operation Overwatch and The Pink Berets. He is a Professional Member of the International Association of Canine Professionals and is an Evaluator for the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen multi-tiered program.

As an instructor in the tactical field, constant reading of journals and LE updates is a must. Brice’s unique perspectives come from decades of experience, from the tactical training and deployment of Military Working Dogs and Police Service Dogs to the instruction of deployment teams working in theater in some of the harshest conditions in the world.

Accomplishments

  • Developed and implemented the Explosives Detection Canine Unit, Presidential Helicopter Squadron (HMX-One), Quantico VA and NAS Anacostia DC and served as founding Kennel Master.
  • Conducted overseas missions in multiple countries during tenure at HMX-One.
  • Conducted over 100 missions in direct support of the US Secret Service.  Protectees included five US Presidents, multiple First Ladies, King Hussein of Jordan, Fidel Castro, Butros Ghali, varying elements of the Dept of Defense command structure, Arnold Schwarzeneggar and many others.
  • Participated in the state funeral of Former President Richard M Nixon, April 2004.
  • Located improvised explosive device on Presidential support mission, 1995.
  • Provided support for the United Nations 50th Anniversary, at both event cities, San Francisco and New York, 1995.
  • Assisted in hunt for Theodore Kaczinski (the Unabomber) 1995.
  • Participated in the hunt for the DC Snipers, October 2002 (as Fairfax County Deputy).
  • Guest Speaker, International Association of Canine Professionals Annual Conference.
  • Completed eight years in the United States Marine Corps with Honorable Discharge, 1992-96, 1997-01.
  • POST Certified (CA) as a Canine Team Evaluator, 1995.
  • President, 40th Session of the Fairfax County Criminal Justice Academy, VA and completed same with 94.3% scholastic average, 2001-02.
  • Steward, United States Police Canine Association Detector Certification Trial, Region Three, March 2002.
  • Narcotic Detector Certified, USPCA, March 2001.  Placed 1st in Trial.
  • Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal May 2001.
  • Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal October 2000.
  • Hundreds of K9 demonstrations for various groups, from Scouts to Veterans, schools to corporations, parents to Congressmen.
  • Instrumental in the House Resolution that enabled retired Military Working Dogs to be adopted out after service.
  • Participated annually in the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots campaigns.
  • Assisted in the 24th Annual Marine Corps Marathon.
  • Certified as Naval Air Crew, UCB-12, October 1994, receiving Air Crew Wings that month.
  • Coordinated the 11th Annual Yuma Area Police K9 Trials, March 1998.
  • Developed and presented bomb threat awareness training for civilian staff of Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, CA 1995-96.
  • Bomb threat responses at installations, local community, hospitals and a Lollapalooza event.
  • Assisted local law enforcement in the recovery of weapons (used in local gang related shooting) as Marine MWD Handler.
  • Assisted in the 1996 Republican National Convention, San Diego CA.
  • Distinguished Honor Graduate, Military Police School, Ft McClellan AL 1993.
  • Instrumental in updating Canine Explosive Scent Kits (CESK) to modern standards.
  • Instrumental in developing off leash explosives detection protocols and influential in modern training and deployment of tactical K9s.
  • Member of Special Reaction Team (Sniper) Yuma AZ, helping to establish new Counter Sniper Unit, 1997-99.

Education

  • High School, Forest Lake Academy, 1990
  • Marine Corps Boot Camp, 1992
  • Marine Combat Training, 1993
  • Military Police School, 1993
  • K9 Patrol Handler Course, 1993
  • K9 Detector Handler Course, 1994
  • K9 Supervisor/Trainer Course, 1994
  • UCB-12 Naval Air Crew, 1994
  • Explosives Drivers Course, 1994
  • Hazardous Materials Course, First Responder Awareness, 1995
  • K9 Team Evaluator, California POST Certification, 1995
  • Oleoresin Capsicum Exposure Training, 1995
  • Special Reaction Team Training, Phase One, 1998
  • Counter-drug Marksman Observer Course, 1998
  • Military Functions in Civil Disturbances, 1998
  • Sergeant Nonresident Program, 1998
  • Written Communication, 1998
  • Battle Skills, 1998
  • Weapons, 1998
  • Infantry Squad Leader Tactics, 1999
  • Infantry Patrolling, 1999
  • Terrorism Awareness, 1999
  • Principles of Instruction for the Marine NCO, 2000
  • Counseling for Marines, 2000
  • NHTSA Police Traffic RADAR, 2000
  • Arizona Department of Public Safety ACJIS Network Terminal Operator, 2000
  • High Risk Personnel Course (Pistol Specific), 2001
  • Deputy Sheriff’s Combined Basic School, 2002
  • Fairfax County Criminal Justice Academy, 2002
  • Commonwealth of Virginia DCJS Law Enforcement Officer Certification, 2002
  • Alpha K9 School for the Hare Method of Detector Dog Training 2006
  • Tarheel Canine LE Tactical Building/High Risk Vehicle K9 Applications 2006

As an instructor in the tactical field, constant reading of journals and LE updates is a must.

Not listed are dozens of courses that cover everything from Counterterrorism Tactics to Radiological Scanning Devices.

Awards

  • First Place, Narcotics Detection, United States Police Canine Association (Region Three),
  • 2001 Detector Dog Trials.
  • Third Place Overall, First Place Team, USPCA (3) Iron Dog Competition, with a time of 17:48.
  • First Place, Explosives Detection, Orange County (CA) Trials, 1994.
  • Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal, October 2000.
  • Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal, May 2001.
  • Good Conduct Medal (Twice).
  • Joint Meritorious Unit Award (Twice).
  • Meritorious Unit Commendation (Three).
  • National Defense Medal (Twice).
  • Meritorious Mast (Twice)
  • Certificate of Commendation (Twice)
  • Letter of Appreciation (47)
  • “Distinguished Honor Graduate”, Military Police Academy, 1993

Recent Posts

  • KSAT 12 Reports on Operation Overwatch
  • KENS5 Reports on Service Dogs from Operation Overwatch
  • KENS 5 Features Operation Overwatch
  • Brice Cavanaugh Interviewed on Great Day SA
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Haley

Administrator

Haley has always had a love for animals and helping others. She currently has two dogs named Roscoe and Duke as well as two daughters Raynee and Emilia. She strives to continue growing in everything she does. As an administrator Haley enjoys making one on one connections with clients and providing the best information for their training needs. Haley enjoys spending time at the lake with friends and family. Today, her goal is to help as many clients as possible and to empower her team by being a positive role model.

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Madi

Professional Dog Trainer

Dog training became a passion of mine early in life when I started my family dog in therapy training. It showed me how much a dog could help people and soon I transitioned that into working with service dogs. Throughout college, I worked with service dogs for a variety of disabilities, including diabetes, PTSD, and mobility impairment. I learned so much about how a service dog can improve the life of its handler. While working with service dogs, I was also given the opportunity to volunteer with therapy horses to continue to strengthen my understanding of animal behavior and my calling to help others. After graduating, I took up a career in dog training and began seeking out mentors to learn from. I have continued to gain experience in advanced obedience, behavioral and reactive cases, and a broader variety of service dogs. My goal in dog training is to always keep learning so that I can help others to have the best communication and relationship with their dog.

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Cassandra

Professional Dog Trainer

Cassandra started working with dogs as a young girl when her family decided to open a rescue right out of her home after losing their family dog to breed discrimination.

Always passionate about working with animals, she continued her rescue efforts throughout her life by volunteering in shelters and learning from experts in the field about the handling and training of dogs and cats. After several years of apprenticeships in dog training, working for dog training companies, and serving as the operations and training director of a large scale pit bull rescue for over four years, she joined the Total Dog Team. Today, her mission is to empower owners with the confidence to improve the relationship with their dogs through education, training, and behavior modification.

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Melinda

Professional Dog Trainer

Melinda’s passion for training began at 9 years of age with her family dog, Hershey. Since then, Melinda has enjoyed training her own dogs for fun in agility, skills, hunting, tricks, and service dog work. In 2017, Melinda medically retired from law enforcement and began a new journey where she could turn her passion for dogs into a career. Melinda attended Rocky Mountain School of Animal Acupressure and Massage in 2020 where she earned her Canine Massage Therapy license. Since then, she has found a true passion for helping owners build the best relationship possible with their dogs. During her free time, Melinda trains and competes in dog sports and continues their never-ending journey of canine education.

Melinda has experience in:

  • Multi-dog household
  • Dog ownership with children in the household
  • Small, medium, and large breed dogs
  • Service dog training
  • Canine conditioning
  • Canine enrichment
  • Canine parkour
  • Trick training
  • Agility foundation and training
  • Shed hunting
  • Basic obedience training
  • Grooming
  • Reactive dog training and management


Melinda’s Certifications:

  • AKC CGC evaluator
  • Pet Guru College Canine Enrichment Counselor
  • Communication Skills for Pet Care Professionals
  • Canine CPR and first aid
  • Canine massage level 1: Therapeutic Massage
  • Canine massage level 2: Advanced Massage with Focus on the Canine Athlete
  • Canine massage level 3: Senior and Rehabilitative Dogs
  • Advanced Massage for the Canine Athlete


Extras:

  • American Kennel Club’s Dog Athlete of the Month (January 2021)
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Mercedes

Professional Dog Trainer

Family always comes first. Especially my boys Christian (8) and Jovahnny (baby) and my little brother Adrian (9). I’ve always had a big heart for pets, especially dogs. Currently don’t have any pets due to just having a baby who doesn’t do too well with animals but we do plan to get one in the future. I am bilingual, I was born in Mexico but raised in Round Rock, TX. Love going to Mexico to visit my family and of course their delicious food. Excited for the opportunity to help dogs and their owners in Central Texas.

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