Chaser

Chaser

Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows A Thousand Words

Book - 2013
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A New York Times Bestseller

The amazing story of a very smart Border collie who is redefining animal intelligence.

Chaser has a way with words. She knows over a thousand of them--more than any other animal of any species except humans. In addition to common nouns like house, ball, and tree, she has memorized the names of more than one thousand toys and can retrieve any of them on command. Based on that learning, she and her owner and trainer, retired psychologist John Pilley, have moved on to further impressive feats, demonstrating her ability to understand sentences with multiple elements of grammar and to learn new behaviors by imitation.

John's ingenuity and tenacity as a researcher are as impressive as Chaser's accomplishments. His groundbreaking approach has opened the door to a new understanding of animal intelligence, one that requires us to reconsider what actually goes on in a dog's mind. Chaser's achievements reveal her use of deductive reasoning and complex problem-solving skills to address novel challenges.

Yet astonishingly, Chaser isn't unique. John's training methods can be adopted by any dog lover. Through the poignant story of how he trained Chaser, raised her as a member of the Pilley family, and proved her abilities to the scientific community, he reveals the positive impact of incorporating learning into play and more effectively channeling a dog's natural drives.

John's work with Chaser offers a fresh perspective on what's possible in the relationship between a dog and a human. His story points us toward a new way of relating to our canine companions that takes into account our evolving understanding of the way animals and humans learn.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
ISBN: 9780544102576
0544102576
Branch Call Number: 591.513 PIL
Characteristics: viii, 260 pages :,illustrations (chiefly color).
Additional Contributors: Hinzmann, Hilary

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ArapahoeLinda Aug 29, 2016

Having loved my own border collie and admired her understanding of the spoken word and even the unspoken word, I found Chaser to be a bittersweet read. I felt that Chaser, like a gifted child, lived with the pressure to perform and to constantly show his knowledge. Yet, I found joy in reading about a beloved pet that loved to work just like my beloved Cassie.

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StarGladiator
Jan 27, 2015

I recall many years ago, when I was fortunate to have a wonderful canine companion, also a Border Collie, whom I would let out in the backyard upon returning from work each night. When I would bring out her food, I would find her sitting in front of a pile of peaches, gnawing on them. Since there wasn't a peach tree in the yard, I would have to sneak out and discover that she had dug a hole in the corner by the fence, where a wooded area bordered the yard, and she would make several runs bringing peaches back into the yard. If that isn't abstract intelligence. . . .

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