Hello Clay, we appreciate that you have taken time out to give our readers a great look into the mind of the man responsible for the most titled APBT in history.
Q.)Before we start blasting away with questions give us a little information about what got you into dogs and dog training. Where did your love for pitbulls all begin, how many dogs do you currently own, ect..?No problem at all. I love the dogs and I enjoy what I do with them. Yes, Boogieman was a very special dog to say the least. I have had dogs all of my life. I started playing around with training as a child. I grew up with Rottweilers and GSD's. I bought my first American Pit Bull Terrier when I was 21 and still in college. He died in my arms of natural causes in October of 2013, three months shy of his 16th birthday. His name was Apocalypse and he was an excellent example of the breed. He got me hooked on competing and training competitively in dog sports. I own four dogs of various breeds currently.
Q.) Who are some people (dogmen/women) that inspired you?I have been a fan of Leri Hansen for many years. She has done some extraordinary things with our breed. It was cool to train with her when I visited California a while back. Howard Burgess and Okye Laster are some other trailblazers in the breed. Both are outstanding dog men with extensive resumes. My Mom was the first person who taught me how to train a dog as a kid. She was also key in Boogieman's success due to a simple piece of advice that she gave me about him.
Q.) What got you involved in dog sports?My dog Apocalypse got me in to competing. He was an outstanding dog and he could do everything. He was the spark.
Q.) How did the concept of Team No Fear come about?TNF was started by a group of guys(we now have women on TNF) who wanted to represent the breed in the most positive light possible, while showing that we could achieve extraordinary success in a multitude of different venues.
Q.) Give us some insight about Boogieman and how you two crossed paths?I had taken almost 9 years off from seriously showing and competing with pit bulls. My dogs were older and I had moved from Georgia to Texas and I didn't have anyone that I felt comfortable training with. My idea was to get a puppy and to make him famous, while making a splash in the working world. Most of all, I wanted to have some fun. I brought Boogieman home from Real Deal Chocolates when he was six or seven weeks old. Boogieman immediately showed that he was a dog that could go all the way in any and everything that he did. With hard work and training and of course patience, he became the most titled APBT in the world before his tragic death.
Q.) What all sports do you compete in, and which is your favorite one?I compete in tracking, nose work,weight pull, competition obedience, agility, rally obedience, lure coursing, protection work (PSA, IPO, Iron Dog), dock jumping. I probably enjoy weight pull and agility most of all because I can compete in them all year long. I enjoy mixing bite work and obedience as a close second.
Q.) With so many great moments what can you say are the few that really stick at the top?When Boogieman and Osy became the youngest Super Dogs in UKC history a week apart from one another, I was extremely proud. It is unlikely that Osy's record will ever be beaten. I was also very proud when Boogieman took his first MWPP trophy in Oklahoma in a field of 16 really nice dogs. That achievement was matched by his placement last year at APA Nationals in a large class. That was his last really big show before he died.
Q.) How did you end up with Osy?I ended up with Osy because I wanted a dog that was closer to me on a personal level. Boogieman and I were close but he was a dog that I shared with the world. Very personable and the kind of dog that never really met a stranger. Osy's world revolves around me and everything else comes second. Like Boogieman, he works his tail off in anything that I ask him to do with very little conflict.
Q.) Congratulations on Osy becoming certified in narcotics, what inspired you to train him in this?Thanks a lot. The certification has surprised a lot of people who don't understand just how versatile pit bulls are. I started doing nose work with Boogieman and Osy a while back and both showed that they had excellent noses. I put on a seminar recently and I had some law enforcement officers out certifying their dogs on marijuana, cocaine, pills, and methamphetamine. Osy had never worked with those odors before. I acclimated him to the scents for about five minutes and he went out and performed very well and became a certified narcotics dog.
Q.) You have a ton of titles and made history, but it seems like the train keeps rolling. With that being said what inspires you to train, compete and are there any new goals?The history has been made and the titles have been earned and yes, the train keeps rolling. I am not competing for the recognition or the numbers, so much as I am going out and having fun with my dogs in as many areas as I possibly can. There will always be more shows and competitions and new sports are constantly being created. New goals, well, I will probably get a dog that I will compete with on a high level in weight pull. I may set a goal to win multiple national titles with the dog in multiple years. Next year, I plan to compete on a national level in agility as well. Other than that, I just want to continue to be close with my dogs. They are my pets and members of my family first.
Q.) For anyone who is interested in competing in dog sports or training dogs what are some things that they should know before they get involved?Anyone who is interested in competing in dog sports needs to understand that the time and financial commitment is huge. If you have kids and a family, it helps if they are involved as well, as you may spend a lot of weekends competing on the road away from them. You also need to be prepared to put in the long hours of work with your four legged friend. Lastly, competing and training dogs can be very expensive.
Q.) Can you tell us a little bit about your feeding program and the concept behind it?I switched from kibble to a raw diet back in 1997. It's as close as we can get to what a carnivore would eat in the wild. I prefer the prey model raw. The dogs are healthy and live longer lives eating this way. I also supplement the prey model raw with MVP supplements and a few choice vitamins; krill oil, Glucosamine, etc.
Q.) How much does nutrition play a role in your dog’s performance during training or competition, and do you feed differently depending on what you’re competing in?Nutrition is huge for animals and people. If the dog does not have the fuel to keep them energized, then they can't be expected to perform at optimal levels in competitions. I will vary my portions depending on what I am training for. Example, before weight pull nationals, I want a dog to be leaned down to a specific weight with long, lean muscles. If I am preparing for a protection competition, I may add a little weight and work on speed to enable my dog to really punish a decoy coming down the field.
Q.) Who are some dogs currently that you’re a fan of outside of your own and why?Outside of Team No F.E.A.R. dogs, I like Uzi owned by John Katz. This Malinois is as well rounded andcomplete a dog as I have seen outside of some of my own. He excels in sporting and real world applications. Uzi produced a son named Mac owned by Mandie Ryan who I am also a big fan of. He's a nice, solid young dog with loads of potential. Leri Hansen's Capone is a Hall of Fame type of pit bull dog. Another UKC Super Dog who has shown that he can excel at many tasks. Lastly, I like Osy's father Knocks Ville owned by Travis Ashcraft of Fireline Pits. "Knocks" was the reason that I decided on Osy. I wanted a pup off of a physical specimen with great athletic talent and a solid temperament. Knocks hunts and doesn't compete in sanctioned events, but, he is an amazing animal to put your hands on and watch work in person.
Q.) Where do you see Team No Fear in 10 years, what is the vision?
Wow, TNF in ten years. Hopefully, some of the kids of our members will be active. Some of them at four and five years old already are. I hope that I will still enjoy training and working my dogs and having fun. Once the fun stops, there is no reason to continue, in my opinion. I will probably be doing more seminars and definitely focusing on agility and personal protection training. The vision of TNF has always been to have the most outstanding specimens of our breed showcasing and bringing awareness. Educating the masses about our breed and dispelling the myths and the stereotypes associated with the breed is what we do best.
Q.) Are there any websites, clubs, social media or shout outs you would like to make?
You can find us at www.teamnofear.biz and we have a Facebook fanpage as well under Teamnofear Workingapbt. This is also our name on YouTube.