Connecting owners, dogs and the people who train them
Growing up in Nashville, Tennessee K9 Contenders founder Stewart Clay has always had a passion for training dogs. It began at the age of 14, while hunting at a traditional September 1st Dove Hunt. Stewart watched as a family friend worked in tandem with his chocolate labrador retriever. He was fascinated.
It wasn’t until a neck injury ended his football career during the end of his Junior year of high school that it became time to act on his passion. Not long after the injury, Stewart and his Dad went to Sorenson Kennels in Missouri and bought his first dog, Tug. He hunted a lot, ran local trials and, while in college, began to meet people who have since become part of his sporting dog network. Stewart quickly immersed himself in the world of sporting dogs and, thanks to the guidance of the sport’s top professionals, he is now a noted trainer and competitor within this select group.
After college, while working at a family-owned restaurant business, Stewart continued to train dogs and help friends and family. Whether providing assistance with training or advice on how to find a puppy or pro trainer, he began to study the sporting dog market. More specifically, how professionals market themselves and their businesses — and how consumers go about finding dogs, puppies and professionals. What’s important to dog owners, what concerns them, and what drives them to choose, when hiring a pro or buying a dog?
The answer was overwhelming verification of the idea now known as K9 Contenders.
Those looking for this information wanted a way to confirm that professionals were truly that, professional or that a puppy was properly bred and possessed characteristics important to them. Owners or prospective owners wanted someone who knew dogs and understood the process to guide them.
Stewart had a vision. A way to connect dog owners or potential owners with top sporting dog professionals. To facilitate relationships and match sporting dog lovers with breeders and trainers in a way that enhances the experience for every interested party in finding, developing and owning a dog.
Today, this vision is a reality in the form of the growing and nationally reorganized platform, K9 Contenders.