Chaser is a highly intelligent black and white Border Collie who understands more than one thousand words. Her human, a psychology professor John Pilly, has taught her to identify unique toys by name.
John and his colleagues found Chaser 7 years ago, and she has assisted them with this revolutionary study. Just how many words can a dog possibly learn? How high is canine intelligence?
There are crates full of toys that Chaser has learned the names of. In the video, John picks eight of these toys at random. Then he tells Chaser to get them by calling their names.
To ensure that Chaser actually picks the right toys by name, John turns away from the toys. Chaser has to comprehend the words to select the appropriate toy. “Get Roach!” John commands, and Chaser goes to get it.
This way, Chaser has learned 1022 words in three years of rigorous training. These toys include 116 balls, 26 frisbees, and more than 800 cloth toys. What’s the secret? How does she do it?
To teach Chaser a new word, John adds one new toy to the collection of toys Chaser already knows. John then tells Chaser to get the new toy by saying an unfamiliar word. When Chaser arrives at the mat, she must use elimination to find the right toy.
Just like that, Chaser has learned a new word! Chaser is an insight into how smart dogs can be. Who knows how many more words she might learn in the future?