About Me

Julie at T3
Julie and Riggins on a hike!

Hi, I’m Julie Barber, owner and head trainer at Julie’s K9 Academy! I live in downtown Frederick, Maryland with my dog Riggins. For the past 15 years I’ve worked as a Radiologic Technologist, taking diagnostic images, and helping close the loop between pain and treatment for patients in need of care. I’ve always gravitated towards hobbies and professions that have allowed me to identify a problem and then to seek a solution to fix it. Helping people get to the root of an issue has always been a passion of mine. Because of this, dog training has been a natural transition for me. You can read further about our story HERE.

How did you get into dog training?

I adopted Riggins from a local rescue in 2015. We bonded immediately, and I was so happy I found him, but it became clear there were some fairly big issues to work out. Within a few weeks he was exhibiting really scary behaviors: jumping on people (he’s 90 lbs!), eating trash and clothing, growling, dragging me on walks, and worst of all, exploding with aggressive rage at the sight of another dog on a leash. Needless to say I know all too well what it feels like to struggle with your dog, that hopeless feeling of not knowing if your best friend could hurt themselves, you, or someone else.

Through trial and error, I completely transformed my relationship with Riggins. Now, he looks to me for guidance and leadership instead of making all of his own decisions, and I cannot imagine a better companion. We do everything together now – hiking, walking through the city, and even road-tripping across state lines for training seminars.

Naturally, friends, family and even strangers began asking for help with their dogs after witnessing our successes. Seeing the struggles and fear on their faces resonated with me on a very personal level, and I wanted nothing more than to help them as best I could. Soon, I was getting great results with training other dogs too, and learning so much in the process. In 2017, I officially opened Julie’s K9 Academy!

Are you qualified to train my dog?

In addition to training my dog, Riggins, I have dedicated the past three years of my life to learning and understanding canine behavior, and seeking out education as much as possible. Here are a few examples of how I’ve grown my professional qualifications over the last few years:

  • Shadowed a professional trainer for five months assisting with group obedience classes as well as private lessons.
  • Volunteered at a local animal shelter walking dogs.
  • Attended four of Jeff Gellman's, of Solid K9 Training, RV Dog Training Seminars, a comprehensive training seminar focusing primarily on dog behavior, obedience, and how to stop unwanted behaviors.
  • Attended Train the Trainers (T3), a 7-day, 80-hour, hands-on dog training seminar with three of the best trainers in the country...twice
  • Spent a week shadowing Victoria Smith in Orlando, FL at her Board and Train facility, Take the Lead K9 Training.
  • Spent countless hours watching online seminars and reading as much as I can about dog training from the greatest in the field.
  • Spent a week shadowing Solid K9 Training in Providence, RI where they train some of the most aggressive and hard to handle dogs. Worked closely with the trainers day after day in rehabilitating these dogs.

Ultimately, I’ve found that my greatest learning experiences come from working directly with dogs all day, everyday. Hands-on training is what has gotten me the best results.

Julie at T3
Julie at the T3 training seminar

What do you do when you’re not training?

My friends and family might tell you I’m always training, but I do enjoy some non-dog related hobbies! I love to hike our local trails at Gambrill State Park and Maryland Heights in Harper’s Ferry, WV. I love traveling internationally and have been to Europe several times (with friends and even alone). I also regularly model for figure drawing classes at local art galleries, and enjoy going to live music concerts whenever I can (especially the outdoor, dog-friendly ones!).

Have a question I didn't answer here? Email me. I look forward to hearing from you!

Julie is a fully licensed and insured Canine Behavior Specialist and member of The International Association of Canine Professionals. She has an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science, and is a licensed Radiology Technologist with a concentration in MRI.