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

Heeling Dogs Heals Hearts

I had planned on writing about Canine Connections, a program at Echo Glen Children's Center in Snoqualmie, WA, a juvenile-rehabilitation facility. This is a program that pairs at-risk youth with death row shelter dogs. The teens train the dogs to make them adoptable, and in the process gain compassion and self-esteem for themselves. It’s an amazing and beautiful process that most dog lovers immediately understand.

As I started writing about this particular program, I remembered the woman I had the pleasure of sitting next to at the recent Association of Pet Dog Trainers Conference in Portland, OR. Her name was Keri Gorman, and she told me all about the program she worked with called Project Click, an animal training program offered by the Humane Society for Southwest Washington.


Manners for Dog Owners

There are many well trained, dog-friendly, people-friendly dogs out there in the world. You meet them at dog parks, on the beach, at your vet’s office and in your neighborhood. They sit when asked, walk nicely on-leash and come when their owners call them. They love children and are not frightened by bicycles or wheelchairs. In fact, they are darned near perfect. So, how could such a great dog ever be considered a nuisance?


All Puppy Classes are Not Created Equal!

As a trainer who does my best to respect other professionals in the field, I understand that not everyone is going to do things the way I do. In dog training, there are often many answers to the same question, and the ones a trainer chooses to pass on to owners are often based on their own view of what training should be or their own professional knowledge. However, when it comes to puppy classes, there are some things that simply cannot be compromised.This week, I was speaking to a puppy-owning daycare client who is taking a puppy class at one of the large pet stores in the area.


Holiday Warning

Every year, unknowing dog owners find out the hard way that tinsel and glass ornaments can be dangerous. They learn that dogs shouldn’t eat things like chocolate or poinsettias. For this reason, it’s important that you ask your vet for a list of foods, plants and holiday trimmings that can be hazardous to dogs.

As a trainer, my end of the information spectrum is to talk to owners about preparing their dog (behaviorally) for the strangeness of the holidays and preparing themselves for the extra responsibility of managing a dog during the festivities.


Some Things Shouldn’t Last Forever

For some people, the idea of re-homing a pet for any reason is absolutely not acceptable. I know folks who feel that it’s shameful to ever “give up” on a pet regardless of the circumstances. While I am adamantly opposed to the attitude of pets being disposable, I am also aware that the issue is not always as simple as some might assume.

I do get upset when I see ad after ad on the online classifieds about pets needing new homes because people are moving, getting married, having a baby or are just tired of being a pet owner. It makes me angry when people make impulsive decisions and the dog has to pay the consequence. At the same time, I don’t want any dog to stay in a home where it isn’t wanted, loved and appreciated. In the simple cases where the owners simply don’t want the dog, I am grateful when a new home can be found.


The Price of Ignorance

This blog just might offend some people. As a trainer, I am often not called until whatever issue an owner is having with their dog(s) reaches the point of crisis. I realize that this is often also the case with human therapists, doctors, mechanics and other helping/service professionals. People try to help themselves, live in denial or simply can’t see the problem clearly until they are shown some glaring, undeniable and often terrible evidence that something is wrong. 

I have two simultaneous and conflicting reactions to this. One is that I want to help if I can. I am empathetic, often hopeful and in many situations I can see that the issue is not what the owner thinks it is and is often quite normal. On the other hand, I am sometimes angry and frustrated that something wasn’t done to prevent the problem or that the issue wasn’t addressed earlier when it would have been much easier to resolve.


Dog Training Recipes

Here are some simple recipes to quickly and easily spice up your dog's training. Enjoy!

~Recall Salad~
5 Pieces of kibble
5 Pieces of freeze dried liver
5 Small cubes of cheese
1 Dog
1 Human
1 Yard

1. Mix kibble, freeze dried liver and cheese cubes in a plastic sandwich bag or bait bag.
2. Place dog in front of human (luring is fine).
3. Randomly toss one piece of kibble, liver or cheese onto the yard, away from human.
4. Allow dog to process the tossed food, then call back to position.
5. Repeat until bag is empty.




The Myth of the Spoiled Dog

Why is it that if a dog barks for a treat, we say he’s demanding; but, if the dog sits for a treat, we say he’s asking? The differences in value judgments here are purely human. Both behaviors are equally appropriate and doable from the dog’s perspective.

Behaviorally speaking, right and wrong are simply divided by that which gets you the result you want and that which doesn’t. It has nothing to do with that which embarrasses your owner in front of his boss, or that which impresses the neighbors. Those are concepts beyond the scope of canine understanding. A dog who barks for a treat and gets it is just as well trained as the dog who sits for a treat and gets it. They’ve just been trained to do very different things.


Izzy & Emma Go Camping

Here in Oregon, we like to camp. The biggest reason for this is the vast amount of outdoor beauty available to us in this state. You can camp at the coast, in the woods, on the high desert, or in the mountains. We have lakes, rivers and streams, miles of ancient lava flows, magical sea-side mountains said to still contain never-found treasure, and wildlife that ranges from the tiny chipmunk to the bear to the impressive Elk.

Last week we decided to venture out to the Willamette National Forest. I don’t care where in the world you live, this is a place worth visiting! We recently bought a new tent-camper and wanted to try it out. This is the kind of camper that is solid on the bottom half and a tent pops up on top of it. Our camper has two double beds and a twin bed, so we had to choose a couple of our dogs to go along, both to take up some space and keep us warm in the chilly evening mountain air.


Bringing Home Bella

I recently had the great fortune to be a part of an exciting moment in a client’s life. I traveled with them to pick up their brand new puppy and was there to supervise the first meeting between the pup and the client’s resident dog. Nothing could be more exciting!

I get a lot of calls about how to choose a second dog, how to prepare for it and how to handle the introductions. Many people want to spend a lot of time talking about the dog they’re planning to add to their family. They are often surprised to find that I am far more interested in talking, at length, about the dog they already have.



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