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Thread: Chaser the border collie 'knows more than 1000 words'

  1. #1
    Elite Member Honey's Avatar
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    Dec 2006

    Default Chaser the border collie 'knows more than 1000 words'

    Dog owners like to think that their pets understand what they’re being told.
    Indeed, some owners will talk to their dogs at great length while the animal gazes back at them with what is probably a mixture of affection and bewilderment.
    However, there is one dog who appears to understand a great deal of what is being said.
    Chaser the border collie knows over 1,000 words - more than any other animal

    Border collie Chaser has, according to psychologists Alliston Reid and John Pilley, managed to learn more than 1,000 words.
    Their findings could mean that all those conversations with our pets aren’t entirely wasted.
    Professor Reid and Dr Pilley worked intensively with six-year-old Chaser for three years to see how large a vocabulary she could command.
    They made up names for 1,022 toys, including frisbees, balls and stuffed animals, and found she was able to learn and remember them all.

    Chaser, owned by Dr Pilley, was also able to sort them according to function and shape, something children learn at around three.
    Professor Reid said: ‘We wanted to see if there was a limit to the number of words a dog could understand, and if they could understand the name of an object rather than just respond to a command related to an object, such as fetch.
    ‘We worked with Chaser for four to five hours each day testing her on the words over and over again and were able to establish that she could remember and distinguish between them all. We’re not saying this means dogs can learn language in the same way children do, but it does show they are capable of learning many more words than might have been thought.’

    The research at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, involved introducing Chaser to the toys one by one and then repeating the name to reinforce the association. She was also regularly tested on her entire vocabulary.
    Groups of 20 toys were chosen at random and Chaser had to retrieve them by name.
    She completed 838 of these tests over the three years and never got less than 18 out of 20 right, according to the findings published in the New Scientist magazine.
    Chaser, pictured here on top of the pile of toys, has had intensive training to learn every one of their names

    Chaser was also taught to combine three different commands with the toys – ‘paw’ (move it with your paw), ‘nose’ (push it with your nose’), and ‘bring’.
    Beverley Cuddy, editor of Dogs Today magazine, said: ‘It’s very inspiring. Many owners think their dogs are capable of understanding a lot more than they might feel comfortable with letting on about and now science seems to be saying they’re not mad to think so.’
    In 2004 it was claimed border ­collie Rico, aged nine from Leipzig in Germany, knew 200 words.

    Read more: Meet Chaser: The incredible border collie who has learned the names for 1022 toys | Mail Online

  2. #2
    Elite Member faithanne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    On the Hellmouth


    Border collies are freakishly smart and you do forget you're dealing with a dog sometimes. My friend's old border collie was just one of the girls and it was only when she'd drop her toys at my feet so I'd play with her that I'd remember she was a dog. She understood so many commands and was so easy to train because she got it straight away.

    I love watching the NZ sheepdog trials. Those dogs are amazing.

  3. #3
    Elite Member Witchywoman's Avatar
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    Jan 2006
    vat of chocolate


    I agree, they really do stand out from other dogs.

  4. #4
    Elite Member Trixie's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    exiled and ostrich sized


    I totally believe it--I've owned 3 border collies in my life and they're the funniest, quirkiest, amazing dogs in the world, imo.

    My female who passed away last summer definitely knew the different names of her toys too, and lots of other words. I can only imagine what she could have accomplished if I'd spent several hours a day on it.

    I miss her so much.

    p.s. witchy, your dogs are gorgeous!
    These people don't give a fuck about YOU or us. It's a message board, for Christ's sake. ~ mrs.v ~
    ~"Fuck off! Aim higher! Get a life! Get away from me!" ~the lovely and talented Miss Julia Roberts~

  5. #5
    Elite Member darksithbunny's Avatar
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    Oct 2005


    I always wanted a border collie but I was told they need lots of space to run and get bored. We have a sheltie too and boy she is smart!

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