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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.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Silvia on 05-18-15
I love dogs and enjoy playing with mine quite a bit. A little while ago, I had a discussion with a dog trainer who insisted that dogs cannot recognize words, only sounds. To me this did not make sense. For words are sounds, and I have observed my own dog, a yellow lab, learn to distinguish her toys by name, for example. So, when I came across this book, I bought it in an instant. It not only confirmed my observations -that dogs can learn words- but also gave me insights into cognitive processes and tips for dog training through play! Besides, it's a really well told and fun story to read/hear!
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
By Amazon Customer on 07-28-15
The fantastic Chaser and how he got there
Takes a lot of time and dedication to work this much with a dog. Helps to have a few graduate students around. The end results is a story that will entertain and fascinate you. Even if you can't spend as much time training your dog, it will make you renew your efforts. It will also provide a lot of ideas for you and your dog.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful