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

picture of brice, the owner of total dog
"At Total Dog!, we help our clients get out with their dog, have fun with their dog, help their dog reach their full potential, and build a genuine relationship with their dog that lasts."
SGT Brice Cavanaugh

SGT Brice Cavanaugh

SGT Brice Cavanaugh founded Total Dog! and 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.

Accomplishments

  • Conducted overseas missions during tenure at HMX-One, the helicopter squadron responsible for US President transportation
  • Conducted 100+ missions in direct support of the US Secret Service, protecting five US Presidents
  • Located improvised explosive device on Presidential support mission
  • Participated in the hunt for the DC Snipers
  • Guest Speaker, International Association of Canine Professionals Annual Conference
  • Completed eight years in the United States Marine Corps with Honorable Discharge, 1992 - 2001
  • Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal, May 2001
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Meet The Team

Brice Cavanaugh
Founder, Total Dog!
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Haley
Executive Assistant
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Mercedes
Administrator
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Cassandra
Professional Dog Trainer
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Melinda
Professional Dog Trainer
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Jillian
Professional Dog Trainer
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Montreal
Professional Dog Trainer
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Meiyan
Dog Trainer
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Montreal

Professional Dog Trainer

As an individual with a certification in dog training, 3 ½ years of experience in training, as well as being an A.K.C and C.G.C evaluator and C.C.P.D.T With a specialization in behavior modification I have a unique perspective on how puppies/dogs can and will be and go on to be in terms of being fulfilled and successful in multiple aspects of their lives. While not trying to reinvent the wheel, my way of training is rather unique in the way that the behavior of the puppies/dogs is shaped. Whilst using treats as a means for reward after successfully completing a command has been the traditional route for far longer than one can imagine, I have noticed that affection as a means for reward breeds long term fulfillment, and success for both the puppy/dog and owner, therefore, I have implemented this reward system in my way of training, negating the over-treating of a puppy/dog which in-turn negates the creation of separation anxiety and other bad habits that can and will develop from over-treating. By implementing affection as the means for reward, the puppy/dog understands that he or she will be rewarded with affection and they will execute any command more successfully.

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Meiyan

Dog Trainer

I am an entrepreneur in the wellness industry, and as such, I see firsthand the impacts that dogs can have on their families…good and bad! My desire to help people find balance in their lives perfectly dove-tailed into the mission that Total Dog! has, so it was very easy for me to adopt the Total Dog! philosophies not only on my personal Great Pyrenees, but I was then inspired to learn how to bring this to anyone that I can!

I had studied many books and videos, and while there is amazing information readily available, there is also a lot of ineffective information out there as well. Having a single source to get to the truth is amazing!

My Pyrenees is now the “start of the “show” when I am at local Farmers’ Markets, and I can take her off leash wherever I am allowed, without the fear of her running off or getting into scuffles with other animals. We are experiencing true freedom! She is also certified as a Service Dog! Many know that Pyrs can be a bit stubborn, especially on recall, but she now checks in with me to make sure that she is still within the predetermined range that I have set for her.

I am so excited to help you find the same joy with your dog as I do with mine. My whole philosophy on life and wellness is about balance, and having an unruly dog can certainly throw things off! We are here to help!

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Jillian

Professional Dog Trainer

Starting with her family’s Cocker Spaniel at the local obedience club, Jillian began training when she was 11 years old. This prompted her to get her own dog when she was 13; a rescued Shetland Sheepdog named Missy. They trialed in AKC and the 4H club in agility, conformation, and obedience and eventually got into work as a therapy dog team. This was the root of Jillian's love for dog training.

Now active with her 3 Australian Shepherds, they compete in agility, conformation, obedience, rally obedience, scent work, and herding/stock. Together they have earned numerous titles in each of these venues and have competed at the National level. In 2019 Jillian and her dog Dosey Doe won the High in Trial award for Agility at the ASCA Nationals in Bakersfield, CA. While her personal dogs focus is on competitive sports, her professional work has been centered around general wellness and behaviors.

Jillian's background in professionally working with dogs includes an education as a Registered Veterinary Technician and managing her own grooming business. This has given her a unique perspective in more than just training. Jillian believes in looking at the whole dog to get the best results in their behavior, but also focuses on being a coach for the owners to know how to make desired changes stick.

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Mercedes

Administrator

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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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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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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Haley

Executive Assistant

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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Brice Cavanaugh

Founder, Total Dog!

Founder, Professional Dog Trainer & AKC Evaluator

SGT Brice Cavanaugh founded Total Dog! and 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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