Saturday Stories – Chaser, the Dog of Many Words


Photo by Pilleybianchi | CC-4.0 | via Wikimedia Commons

This week’s true Saturday Story is about an incredible Border Collie called Chaser. Everyone knows that Border Collies are one of the most intelligent breeds of dog – it’s why we often use them for our dog training here at Bowerland Holiday Cottages and Devon Dogs. Chaser, however, is an exceptionally clever dog with a vocabulary of over 1,022 words!

After being inspired from reading about a dog who learned to recognize 200 nouns, Chaser’s owner, John W. Pilley decided to see if she could do better. He spent roughly 5 hours a day working with her and teaching her to recognise the names of a couple of new items every day.

Today John has several boxes worth of toys and random items, and after selecting a few at random and placing them down behind him he only needs to say a noun and Chaser will immediately go to pick up the correct one. She can even categorise the different items by function and shape.

When it’s time to learn a new word, John will place the unknown item in amongst several other items that Chaser does know. She is intelligent enough to work out that the new word must mean the item she doesn’t know, and memorises it on the spot through process of elimination.

Chaser is so keen on learning new words that she often pushes John, who is aged 82, for more and demands her lessons. John is now in the process of teaching her verbs and even basic grammar! John also wrote a book, which is a New York Times Best Seller. You can read more about it here.

If you have a Border Collie of your own, why not book a training holiday for yourself and your dog and come see what your dog is capable of – you may well be surprised!

Read more Saturday Stories HERE.

Chris Green

About the Author: Chris Green works in the office at Bowerland Cottage Holidays and Devon Dogs, using his technical expertise to assist wherever needed. In his spare time he likes playing guitar and bass, and hiking around Dartmoor.


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