Cindy McKinney, Staff Trainer, Swimming Lessons, Canine Lifeguard


Even as a young girl, Cindy McKinney knew she would work with animals. She had reptiles, small animals, horses, cats and, of course, dogs! This began a long career in the dog and pet industry, including a BOCES certificate of Animal Science and positions at various pet stores, including three years at PetSmart where she succeeded as a floor manager, groomer and Salon Manager.

After going through an 18-month apprenticeship with Frank Bonomo at Best Friends Dog Training, starting in the kennels and working her way up, she became a full-time professional dog trainer, and has been training dogs ever since. Cindy’s specialty is working with clients who need to build up their confidence to become great dog owners and handlers.

Cindy has three dogs of her own: the high-energy, seven-year-old Jack Russell, Jax, who has done obedience, agility and trick training (ask to see his “chest flip!”) and two Belgian Malinois: three-year-old Stone and one-year-old Dublin. Stone and Dublin are being trained to compete in Personal Protection Sports and Stone is currently competing in PSA (Protection Sports Association) and has earned a PDC (Protection Dog Certificate), which is the entry-level of the sport.

At Camp, Cindy is best known as the doggie lifeguard/swim instructor, and has taught many of the camp dogs to enjoy the water. You can find Cindy poolside keeping the pool area safe or giving swimming lessons to dogs that are a little nervous or who are just new to swimming. Don’t be afraid to as Cindy for a little help with training issues or if she could help your pooch with a swim lesson!!