top of page

Brandon Marquez

Owner & Lead Trainer

DSC07436 copy - Cover.jpg

Brandon has been an avid dog lover his entire life, growing up alongside a few incredible dogs. Upon beginning his professional career in the United States Marine Corps (USMC), Brandon had an opportunity to take his personal love for dogs and turn that into what would be a lifelong career. He started his professional dog training career as a Military Working Dog (MWD) Handler while serving in Okinawa, Japan. There he was able to grasp the concepts of working dogs and various dog training styles while working with many different breeds and various capabilities. Nearing the end of his time in Okinawa, Brandon was highly recommended and selected to move to North Carolina to join the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) as a Multi-Purpose Canine (MPC) Handler. During his tenure at MARSOC, Brandon completed four separate deployments throughout the Middle East and Africa. Additionally, in this time, he was able to travel through the Unites States and many countries abroad advancing and refining his dog training skill set. 

There were many things Brandon enjoyed during his time in the Military. Throughout his seven years at MARSOC, he worked with an amazing MPC, Shimanski. Shimanski was trained in explosive detection, controlled aggression and team protection, and human tracking. Having various disciplines gave them a wide range of real-world applicability and experience. Going on hundreds of real-world operations, in some of the most dangerous parts of the world, Brandon found his favorite part of canine training, explosive detection. Over the course of their travels, Brandon and Shimanski experienced a great deal of success searching for explosives and working overseas. For their decisive actions, Brandon received both Combat and Valor awards. 

While explosive detection and advanced training have been his favorite parts of working with canines, the aspect Brandon loves most about it is, the foundational obedience that is required. This soared his interest to work with not just these high caliber dogs, but also the average house dog. During the final year of his Military career, Brandon took to personal dog training. With a true passion for dogs and extremely unique experiences, he wanted to share that and bring well trained dogs to as many homes as possible. Brandon was able to understand the common issues dog owners and their families face at home and provide custom solutions to solve those problems. Taking his high-level unique experience and bringing it to everyone interested has allowed him to see his favorite type of dog, a well-trained dog! 

Through all the various countries, operations, and dogs, one thing always remains true – every dog and problem set is unique. This is a critical value Brandon holds in his career and applies to each situation. Understanding the dog, the family, and the lifestyle is crucial to give you the best trained dog possible. This is why Brandon will be fully committed and involved to give you and your dog the best knowledge possible for success. 

Since establishing Crux Canine Training, Brandon has continued to share his passion for dogs and helping other veterans. Brandon is also the founder of Southern Cross Service Dogs, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to providing exceptionally trained service dogs to veterans in-need. 

Joey Samuels



Joey's childhood in Texas was filled with experiences around dogs. From a young age, he was fascinated by their behavior and their unwavering loyalty to their owners, to include his own family’s dogs. This early exposure to dogs left a lasting impression on Joey and fueled his desire to work with them.

After completing his high school education, Joey joined the United States Marine Corps with the hope of becoming a Military Working Dog handler. He worked tirelessly to develop the skills needed for this desired role. His hard work paid off when he was selected for the program and began his career as a dog handler.

Joey’s perseverance, and dedication to his craft have given him opportunities to further his education in dog training and handling. He attended numerous courses and seminars both in the United States and overseas, where he learned advanced techniques in scent detection, obedience, and controlled aggression. 

During Joey’s eight-year Marine Corps career, he spent four years in the Marine Corps Special Operations Command, serving as a Multi-Purpose Canine Handler. Joey was deployed to various locations worldwide, where he and his canine partners served a critical role in maintaining security and protecting military personnel. The experience of working in a high-pressure environment with these highly trained animals deepened Joey's appreciation for their capabilities and their importance to the military.

After leaving the military, Joey’s passion for helping other develop a deeper appreciation for their pets has led him to the next chapter in his career, as a private dog trainer and staff service dog trainer with Southern Cross Service Dogs. 

bottom of page