How Did The World's Smartest Dog Get to Be So Smart?

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Yes, People Who Know Anything About Dogs Know That Border Collies Are One Of The Smartest Dog Breeds, But...

CHASER, Unlocking the Genius Behind the Dog Who Knows a Thousand Words...not every Border Collie has her own Web Site, Facebook, Instagram, You Tube and Twitter Pages. Nor has another been featured on 60 Minutes with Anderson Cooper, the Today Show, Nova Science Now on PBS, CBS and ABC World News, or in USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Time and Scientific American. And, as a result, has her own NY Times Best Selling Book and gets her own seat on airlines due to her celebrity status!

Chaser, the dog who knows over 1,200 words is perhaps the most famous dog in the world. She can not only find a specific toy, ball or frisbee out of a room full of toys, but either fetch, paw or nose that toy based on the command. If in that room of toys she is asked to find a toy by name that she has never seen or heard of before, she will, through exclusion and deduction, pick it out from the ones that are familiar.

So How Did Chaser Get To Be Such A Smarty Paws?

Chaser the Border CollieThe simple answer is the love and dedication of one remarkable man, Dr. John W. Pilley, a psychologist who taught for 30 years at Wofford College, a liberal arts institution in Spartanburg, S.C. In 2004, after he had retired, he read a report in Science about Rico, a border collie whose German owners had taught him to recognize 200 items, mostly toys and balls. Dr. Pilley decided to repeat the experiment using a technique he had developed for teaching dogs.

Getting Chaser as puppy, he started to train her for four to five hours a day. He would show her an object, say its name up to 40 times, then hide it and ask her to find it, while repeating the name all the time. She was taught one or two new names a day, with monthly revisions and reinforcement for any names she had forgotten. 

Chaser proved to be a diligent student. Unlike human children, she seemed to love her drills and tests and was always asking for more. Dr. Pilley, now in his late 80's, says that she demanded those four to five hours a day!  He found himself frequenting Salvation Army stores to buy up sackfuls of used children’s toys to serve as vocabulary items. 

After three years, Chaser’s vocabulary included 800 cloth animals, 116 balls, 26 frisbees and a medley of plastic items. Dr. Pilley suggests any dog can demonstrate an understanding of language - with a bit of help.

Not all of us are retired professors and dog lovers that have those four to five hours a day to dedicate to the training, praising and PLAYING to tap into the intelligence of our dogs, but wouldn't it be great if we could? In the meantime, most of us think we have an idea of what our dogs are thinking, and a Smarty Paws leash that puts their thoughts into words might me your best solution for the moment!


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