Experienced. Certified. Game-Changer.
Julie Haller, owner and head trainer at Ahead of The Game, is an Air Force veteran, married for 33 years to her husband, Rich (an Air Force retiree), and the mother of 4 Navy children. She has been working with dogs for over 40 years. Her passion for training dogs started at an early age while working with the dogs in her family's kennel. Breeding and raising dogs for a myriad of competitions (such as obedience, conformation, and gundog field trials) was all part of everyday life. Along with Northlen's Kennel, her father, Jack Northgraves, started the Midcoast Maine Kennel Club, conducted training classes, and hosted a local radio show "You and Your Dog". Julie was an integral part of these activities through high school. Upon graduation she made her way to Colorado Springs to attend the Air Force Academy. She graduated in 1988 with a BS degree in Biology/Human Performance, and went on to commission in the US Air Force as a Personnel (HR) Officer. She resigned her commission after promotion to Major, to focus on raising her family--and numerous dogs, including training a service puppy. The puppy went on to become a certified service dog for a wheelchair bound teenage girl.
Fast-forward to 2018: Julie found herself looking in to an empty nest as her 4 children left, one by one, to attend the Naval Academy in Annapolis and serve in the US Navy. Not long after, Julie and Rich brought home a new Greater Swiss Mountain Dog puppy, Anchor, to keep their aging Swissy, Rocky, company. Julie quickly realized Anchor was a brilliant, operant, chase driven, challenging, Naughty but Nice (NBN) puppy! He quickly rekindled her deep passion for dog training, and inspired her to become a certified professional dog trainer. Not only was Anchor her inspiration, he is also ATG's Logo!
Julie holds multiple certifications to include her Advanced Professional Dog Trainer Certification through an in person/hands on, accredited Georgia Post Secondary school as well as two international certifications from UK based Absolute Dogs. Absolute Dogs certifications include ProDogTrainer (PDT) 2.0 (Games Based Concept Training Certification) and PDT Geek (The Science of Dog Behavior). She has also completed the Dog Emotion and Cognition Course through Duke University and is an approved AKC CGC Evaluator. Julie continues to expand her knowledge base and stay current with the most up to date science based research through Absolute Dogs, the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), and a myriad of other accredited dog training institutions.