Duane Chapman Got Candid About His Rocky Past And The Episode That Turned His Life Around

Date November 20, 2018

Duane Chapman, better known as Dog the Bounty Hunter, is one of the most successful people in his trade in America. He has caught more than 6,000 criminals who have violated their bail terms, and he’s also done a great job helping drug addicts and ex-convicts. 

But what led him to choose the right path? It was his own rocky past.

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What led Dog the Bounty Hunter to change his ways

Chapman’s early life was full of traumatic events. He was abused by his father, dropped out of school when he was 13, joined a motorbike gang, and had been arrested numerous times by the time he reached young adulthood.

Back in 1976, Dog’s friend shot and killed a guy during a drug deal gone wrong. Although Dog wasn’t directly involved in the killing, he was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to 5 years in prison.


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It was an episode in prison that turned his whole life around. A fellow inmate attempted an escape, but Dog tackled him to the ground. Dog saved that guy’s life: Otherwise, he would have been shot by a prison guard.

A correctional officer praised Dog for his actions, and that served as an inspiration. Unlike many other ex-convicts who turn right back to crime after being released from prison, Dog was a reformed man when he was set free in 1979. After his release, he became a bounty hunter.


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Not your regular bounty hunter

After many years in the trade, Dog got his own show, Dog the Bounty Hunter, which aired on A&E from 2004 to 2012. During that time, the show’s fans came to know him as a tough guy who is also compassionate and sympathetic. He would speak to those he caught, trying to talk them into changing their ways. After all, he knows firsthand what it’s like to be on the other side of the law.


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Dog wrote in his memoir, You Can Run but You Can’t Hide:

I have been misjudged, misinterpreted, and misunderstood for most of my life. I have spent the last twenty-seven years trying to be one of the good guys.

After the show was canceled in 2012, Dog and his wife and fellow bounty hunter, Beth, continued to help ex-convicts and addicts. Speaking at an event in Mansfield, Ohio, earlier this year, Dog said:

I saw how the TV show was touching people, so eye-to-eye is even better. I try to lead by example. If I can take this on the road, that is going to inspire them.

A word on success from Dog

Dog’s spectacular career brought him millions, but he knows that success in life isn’t only about money.

Speaking on The Art of Charm, Dog shared his thoughts about success:

You don’t have to necessarily be successfully rich – you can be successful in love, with children, go to the park, go fishing… I mean, there’s a lot of different degrees of success that’s just not money.