The smart Border collie, Chaser is now a famous dog with an extensive vocabulary. She knows more than 1,000 words, including nouns, proper nouns, verbs, adverbs, and prepositions.
Chaser is such a smart Border collie that she knows that common nouns help identify different things. She knows ball refers to any round object, and Frisbee is any spinning ring or desk.
She can also make inferences like a pro. If you ask Chaser to grab a new toy with a word she’s never heard before, she’ll quickly pick one from her familiar pile.
Her owner, Pilley, a scientist, has started teaching her three grammar elements, from ‘take ball’ to ‘take the ball to Frisbee.’ Chaser is a really smart border collie.
What surprises people is that she understands that words complement each other in a sentence and have multiple meanings.
Pilley says, “We want to stretch it out, so we have four, five elements of grammar. They’ve done that with dolphins and chimps, but no one’s done it with dogs. I wanted to do something other than teaching, so finally, at age 67, I retired. But, I couldn’t find anything that I enjoyed more,” he adds.
When Pilley and his wife Sally lost their senior dog, a border collie-German shepherd mix, to old age, they decided to get another border collie.
One June day, as the Pilley and his wife sat under an old oak tree, Chaser arrived in their life. While the smart Border collie was going to be a part of their family, Pilly had in his mind to teach the dog new words.
There was no science behind it. Pilley simply allowed Chaser to follow his lead, and it worked magically.
“One reason some of our findings are so important is that we demonstrated — and we’re not alone; other researchers are demonstrating the same thing — that these dogs think. They reason. They make inferences,” Pilley said.
His experiments proved to be beneficial. Soon, the smart Border collie became world-famous for her ability to comprehend new words.
Thank you USA Today for the story. Thank you Harvest Books for the fun video!
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