Cindy Bruckart


Cindy Bruckart is a dog trainer in the Portland, OR metro area.  

She runs Regarding Rover, LLC offering private training and board & train programs.  

She is also the Play Group Coordinator and Trainer at Multnomah County Animal Shelter, which is an open-admission, Open Paw, county shelter.  

She specializes in puppy and adolescent dog training with a focus on training during off-leash play.

Cindy is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, an AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator, a Certified C.L.A.S.S. Evaluator, blogger, podcast host and public speaker.  She is also a proud, professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers.

Cindy is currently traveling the country to speak about shelter play groups in her seminar Beyond Socialization - Using Shelter Play Groups for Training & Assessment.

Blog posts by Cindy Bruckart

Play Provides Enrichment for Shelter Dogs

At the beginning of May I started an amazing adventure with Multnomah County Animal Services in Troutdale, OR.  This Open Paw shelter asked if I would be interested in running a shelter play group program to provide further enrichment for their canine guests.  You bet I would!

I've had years of experience with off-leash dog play, but this was going to be something very different.  Remember, we often have no idea of a dog's history before it reaches the shelter.  In dog daycare or group classes we have humans who can often tell us everything about their dog's experiences from the beginning of their dog's life.  Shelter dogs can't sit down and tell us what they know, where they've been and if they are going to be friendly in a play group.


Puppy Camp - What a Week!

Okay, so I failed miserably at keeping everyone updated with Nike’s week of Puppy Camp.  This was mostly due to my underestimating the energy it would take to get through the week!  Of course I’m not new to puppy training, but every now and then you get a more challenging pup that needs a little extra effort.  Nike was that pup, and I enjoyed every second of it!

I mentioned her fear issues in my first post.  This remained my main concern throughout the week.  I took her to classes with me and to many public places.  If you’ve done this kind of work before, you know that you are starting at square one in each new location. 


Puppy Camp - Daily Report

I am doing a One Week Puppy Camp with the most adorable Great Dane.  Her name is Nike and she is almost 16 weeks old.  I thought some of you might be interested to follow her training progress over the next seven days.

Nike's parents contacted me because they needed help with house training, jumping up and puppy biting.  When I asked about her house training progress thus far, I was told that they'd being doing everything right with no results.  In fact, they'd been taking her out to pee every 20 minutes and were still having accidents.  I immediately suggested a vet visit and sure enough our little girl has a urinary tract infection.  This resulted in a prescription for antibiotics and one day's delay.  No big deal.


The 15 Year Old Puppy

I’ve written before about my blind, deaf, diabetic, 15 year old JRT.  Yes, he’s still with us.  We thought we would lose him a couple of times, but in true Jack Russell fashion he keeps bouncing back.  As I carried him outside to pee for the sixth time today it dawned on me that he isn’t a 15 year old dog, but more of a 15 year old puppy.

He’s lost his eyesight but his nose works just as well as it always has.  This leads him into many a jam that he can’t find his way out of on his own.  After rescuing him from several tight spots, missteps and near misses, we’ve decided that he needs constant supervision.  So, now he has an ex-pen set up in the living room with a bed, toys, water and even some potty pads in case we don’t get him outside at the right time.  He doesn’t signal that he needs to pee anymore; he just takes a few steps and goes.  I figure he’s earned the right.


Making Molehills Out of Mountains

I see lots of dogs who have loud, exuberant reactions to a doorbell ringing.  Many go just as crazy over doorbell sounds on the TV.  It doesn’t matter.  A doorbell is something to freak out about!  Isn’t it interesting that we rarely hear of dogs who react this way to a telephone ringing?  Why is that?

As usual, we find the answer when we look at things from the dog’s perspective.  What happens when the doorbell rings?  The first few times a dog experiences a doorbell, it is often followed by their owner opening the door to a stranger (to the dog) or someone the dog knows and is excited to see.  If the dog is a puppy when this first happens, there is probably a lot of excitement coming his way as his owner and the guest oooh and awww all over him.  Awesome!


Leave Me Out of It!

This is the time of year when trainers are answering a lot of questions about how to manage dogs during holiday festivities.  My answers to those questions depend a lot on the age, experience and personality of the dog.

Puppies (birth – 5 months):  By all means use this time of year to socialize your pup!  All of your holiday guests should be handling the pup, giving her treats, practicing sits & downs and saying the puppy’s name.  It’s especially important to give the pup plenty of positive exposure to children, but it MUST be supervised in order to protect the puppy.  It’s also important to remember that the pup will need constant supervision to maintain house training habits and will also need frequent crate breaks with a nice chewy to avoid over-arousal.


Now! Now! Now!

At this time of year it’s easy to remember being an impatient child counting down the days until Christmas.  Oh how excruciating the wait could be!  I was often guilty of carefully unwrapping and re-wrapping gifts.  This was always followed by an Academy Award level performance on Christmas Day as I pretended to be completely surprised.

I can’t remember how old I was when I stopped peeking at presents.  Somewhere along the line I learned that the true surprise that came from not knowing what was inside the package was worth more than the instant gratification of giving in to my curiosity.


Urgent, Last Chance, Emergency Dogs

Every day my mailbox is full of requests for help with dogs who are scheduled to be euthanized.  I receive plenty of requests for help in rehabiliting dogs who have hurt people or other animals and are now going to pay for it with their lives.

These requests tug at my heartstrings and illicit my anger and frustration with certain dog owners.  The stories are all similar.  The dog was never trained or socialized as a pup, turned into a teenage with no manners or social skills, was relinquished to a shelter and is now unsafe to adopt through no fault of his own.  In other cases the dog was treated poorly by humans and is now afraid and reactive around some or all forms of the species.  All of this was preventable and predictable, and that is what makes me so mad.


Smelling is Believing

I recently wrote a blog on my own site about my oldest dog's journey Into The Twilight.  While he has several aging issues going on, I am most impressed with how little effect his loss of sight has had on him.  I know I shouldn't be surprised, but it really drives home one of the big differences between humans and canines.

We humans so often say, "Seeing is believing!"  This just doesn't seem to be true for dogs.  In the canine world, smelling is believing.  A dog doesn't have to see a bowl of food to know that it is in the room.  Russell (my old blind dog) proves this to me every day.  In fact, all I have to do is sit down at the opposite end of the couch with a cup of yogurt and he makes it quite obvious that he is completely aware of what he can't see.


Preaching to the Choir

I have often heard it said on this site that we (the bloggers and readers) are preaching to the choir.  I hear this as, "Yes, we agree.  But the problem is all those other people who don't care and don't listen.  WE already know this."

I find it discouraging and I have spent countless hours trying to figure out if anything I write on this site makes a bit of difference at all.  I don't mean to sound victimized or fatalistic, but rather realistically inquisitive about the value of sharing information in a forum where readers tend to assert agreement with and knowledge of the subject.  I can't help but wonder if it's a waste of time.



Subscribe to The Dog Blog
Are you a dog breeder? Sign up for the Dog Breeder Behavior & Training Program