In Dog We Trust: A Bounty Hunter's Tale

America's favorite bounty hunter, Duane "Dog" Chapman, is out with a new book about his reality TV exploits, his tumultuous past and how he narrowly avoided spending some serious jail time in Mexico.

Chapman recently opened up to ABC News Now's "What's the Buzz" about the man behind the muzzle.


A Rough Start

Childhood was not easy for Dog, who said his father beat him regularly.

"I couldn't shower in the eighth grade because my legs were completely black and blue," he said.

His rough childhood did not lead to carefree teenage years. Dog joined a motorcycle gang at the age of 16, where he was given the nickname that America closely identifies with him.

"I always talked about God, like I wouldn't rob a church," Dog explained. "We had a guy named Preacher, a John the Baptist, and they named me Dog because it's God spelled backwards…and I was always there when they needed it."

Getting a nickname was not the only thing that happened to Dog while in the biker gang. According to The Associated Press, Dog was convicted in 1977 of being an accessory to murder. He was sentenced to five years in prison, and it was behind bars where Dog got his first taste of bounty hunting.

The Bounty Hunter Is Born

"I worked outside the prison gates and one day an inmate was being thrown into solitary confinement. As the guards were escorting him he hit them and took off running down the prison road. A lieutenant was coming to work and drew down to stop the fleeing felon and I jumped in front of [him] and said 'Don't shoot, I'll catch him!'" Dog told ABC News Now. "So I ran after the guy and…I captured him and got him on the ground. The lieutenant walked up behind me, threw down handcuffs and said 'Hook him up, bounty hunter.'"

That one phrase changed Dog's life forever.

"At that age, in my 20s, I was looking to associate with something else besides an outlaw motorcycle guy. I knew that plan didn't work, there wasn't a bucket of gold at the end of that rainbow— there was a cell. I had to re-establish myself and find somebody else to be and when [that lieutenant] said 'bounty hunter' it rang a bell in my ear," Dog said.

When he was released from jail, Dog had trouble finding a job due to his ex-con status but his experience in prison led a judge to give him an opportunity to be a real bounty hunter.

"I said [to the judge] 'I can't get a job,' and the judge said 'I heard what you did in prison when you ran another inmate down, would you be good at that? And I said 'Of course I would.'" Dog recalled. "Then the judge said 'If you can catch these couple of guys, I'll pay your child support' and 'Dog the Bounty Hunter' became a live person."

Dog was met with immediate success in his new profession.

"I caught the first guy in 10 days, then I caught another, and then I cleared about 12 [off] his…docket," Dog said.

That judge then introduced the new bounty hunter to the FBI and local bail bondsmen, and it jumpstarted his career. Dog claims to have caught 6,000 fugitives in the past 27 years. He did not rise to fame, however, until his 2003 tracking and capture of Max Factor heir and serial rapist Andrew Luster. The capture of Luster led to an offer to do a reality show, A&E's "Dog the Bounty Hunter," but would also cause him years of trouble.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

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