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.
"This marvelous blend of good science and heartwarming dog story will inspire all of us to reexamine our canine friends." (Booklist)
"A delightful memoir that offers a challenge to behavioral psychologists and inspiration for pet lovers." (Kirkus Reviews)
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Wonderful Book - nice mix of science and heart
If you like dogs, and are interested in how they learn, their possibilities, and how they think..... Then this is a great read (listen) for you. Well written, purposeful, solid science, and full of love for the species. We know a lot less about dogs then you may assume. This book takes the ball a bit further down the field, thankfully.
Many scientists cling stubbornly to relatively ancient views opt hat say dogs are machines made of flesh. They don't think. They don't feel. One reason this is true, is because while dog owners may believe their dogs are geniuses with a heart the size of Alaska, it has been Very hard to prove scientifically, how dogs think, learn and feel. Thus the PROVEN science on dog abilities has only recently moved PAST THE "dog as machine" view.
Dr Pilley does a great job of conducting his research, and the story of his work is gripping. Must read.
- Russell T. Stauffer "Rusty"