McKinney, Texas

(214) 307-2635


Wholehearted Canine

Frequently Asked Questions


What types of training do you offer?


There are 3 categories of private lessons, but all are positive, reward based, force-free and custom to the individual dog and owners. Group classes require an evaluation and approval to join. Basics sessions primarily teach manners, impulse control and confidence, but sometimes include foundational fitness or trick training. This arms dogs with skills to make better choices rather than jumping, nipping, barking excessively, or pulling on walks. Behavior Solutions and Behavior Transformation sessions include management strategies, games, and exercises directly aimed at getting dangerous behaviors such as biting under control, then working to resolve the problem entirely. Advanced training includes expert fitness material, advanced behavior chains, and introduction to agility. The advanced material builds on the concepts from basics sessions and requires that dogs are reliable with safety commands such as off, come, and leave it.

How do I know what classification of sessions my dog will be?

I officially classify dogs during the evaluation session which is required for all dogs before beginning training, but classification can change over time. If necessary, you will be asked to fill out a Behavior Solutions form for your dog before the evaluation, which usually means your dog’s initial classification will be Behavior Solutions or Behavior Transformation. Classification determines whether or not we need to cover mandatory training concepts for safety before moving on to any other desired training. Behavior Solutions and Behavior Transformation classifications include but are not limited to moderate to severe reactivity, resource guarding, bite risk factors or bite history, excessively rough play resulting in injuries, and moderate to severe general anxiety. These dogs will need Behavior Solutions or Behavior Transformation sessions until the issues are manageable or resolved, at which point we can continue with Basics or Advanced training sessions if desired.


How long does training take?

The amount of sessions needed depends on where your dog is now and how much that differs from your goals for him or her. It also depends on consistently doing the training homework given and practicing material we cover in sessions. Some dogs may only need a few sessions, while others may need long term training for severe issues, to develop advanced skills, or because the family’s goals have evolved. On average, most dogs have weekly sessions for about 3 months. 

What age is best to begin training?

Building concepts can’t be done too early, but traditional cues and challenges should be introduced after the pup is over 12 weeks old. 8-12 weeks is the ideal time to build foundational concepts for a well- rounded adult dog, such as confidence, proximity value, independence, optimism and calmness. At 12-14 weeks old, puppies can then begin working on more traditional cues and problem solving, and join appropriate group classes. Senior dogs can enjoy and benefit from training at any age, regardless of physical disabilities. Seniors are still capable of forming new habits. 


What payment methods do you accept?

I accept credit cards, checks or cash at the end of each private session. Group courses require payment in advance. Please make checks payable to Sarah Singler. Rates listed on the services page are cash discount rates. Regular price rates for credit card payments are 2.8% higher. Save 2.8% by paying with cash or check! 

Why don't you use aversive methods or punishment?

Corrections are not productive in teaching a dog to alter their behavior, and only harm the relationship and trust between you and your dog. Dogs respond best to respect, patience and rewarding the behaviors we want rather than punishing undesirable ones. Rather than correcting a behavior, I teach the dog that the behavior is unnecessary or not rewarding, and teach him or her some behaviors I would like instead. Many of the most serious behavior problems, including "aggression," stem from fear and a lack of proper coping mechanisms and confidence. Correcting or punishing the behavior will only cause it to escalate over time, so it is best to teach the dog he or she doesn't need to be afraid in the first place. This not only resolves the bad behavior, but also the stress and fear that caused it. Aversives are inhumane and unnecessary for enviable training success.


What should I do to prepare for my dog's evaluation session?

Please fill out a Pre-Evaluation form using the "Pre-Evaluation Form" button at the bottom of any page to give me some background and safety information about your dog(s). A second follow-up form may be required in some cases for Behavior Solutions dogs. Please send a copy of your dog's most recent immunization records by email, along with a signed copy of the liability form, which can be found on the home page and services page. All forms and documents need to be completed or sent at least 48 hours before the evaluation. If your evaluation is around a mealtime, please withhold half of your dog’s food. Please consider your training goals, which we will be discussing, and most importantly, be ready to have fun with your dog and receive a training plan that will yield awesome results!

How can I determine what my travel fee will be if I think I may be more than 15 miles away?

I primarily serve families in McKinney, Allen and Frisco, but I travel within 15 miles of my home for no additional fees, and within 35 miles for a small travel fee based on your location. Please use the map as a general service area reference but use Walker Elementary in McKinney as the location to determine exact travel fees. The fee is $2.50 per mile over 15 miles (one way). For example, if you are 20 miles away the travel fee is $12.50 per session. If you are more than 35 miles away I cannot travel to your home for training sessions, but other arrangements can be made for severe cases in dire need. 


How do coaching and training homework work?

I coach owners through each exercise or game I teach their dogs, including the underlying concepts, different troubleshooting methods to make the games fun and most effective for their dog, and the actual mechanics of movements and correctly timing cues and rewards. I give homework based on the games you and your dog have learned, but the amount of time you spend on it each day is up to you. I recommend minimum and maximum time durations and frequencies for each game based on the individual dog's needs, but this is often only 6-15 minutes a day per dog in total. Playing these training games with your dog regularly helps them get the most out of training, and provides enrichment and bonding time with you as well. 

Are you certified or insured?

Yes, I am Certified as a Professional Dog Trainer by Absolute Dogs, which is based in Devon, England. Certification is not required for dog trainers in Texas, so ask first before allowing anyone to handle your dog. I continually refresh my education and study dog training topics through many avenues. I am also a Professional Member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. I am insured both personally and as a pet professional, and I take numerous precautions to protect the health and safety of all dogs and pets I come in contact with. I require up to date vaccination records for all dogs and maintain strict standards for quality and cleanliness of all gear and food I use with clients.


What is canine fitness training?

Fitness exercises predominantly utilize targeting to help a dog perform specific movements or hold precise positions. The main benefits include injury prevention, strengthening muscles (especially core and stabilizer muscles), and improving balance, flexibility and coordination. It's also a convenient way to provide exercise and mental stimulation indoors during inclement weather, or daily exercise with minimal physical exertion needed by the owner. It's a great tool to aid weight management, physical therapy, or as an outlet for dogs with lots of energy. Canine fitness can also be used to help competing or working dogs remain healthy, strong and flexible. These exercises range widely in difficulty of skill and of strength, from beginner puppy-safe exercises to expert level maneuvers. 

What type of agility do you teach?

I teach introductions to the basics of agility in ways that can be practiced at home. This is a great foundation for dogs that will compete in the future, or simply a fun way to bond with your dog and provide enriching exercise at home. I begin by teaching the fitness basics to ensure safety and more controlled movements with the agility equipment. I use agility equipment designed for travel and practice for dogs who compete. For large obstacles, such as a teeter, I use smaller adapted versions to teach the same concept and behaviors. 

Get Started Today!

Click below to provide background information about your dog, then call or email to schedule your dog’s evaluation! 


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