Chaser: One Smart Dog! (Book review)

This holiday season, I’ve decided to share twelve books with you.
At the bottom of this post, you can enter for a chance to win a copy of this book.
You can also visit this page to find the entire list of books and giveaways.

Today’s book selection is “Chaser: Unlocking the genius of the dog who knows a thousand words.”

This book is a great read for anyone who is interested in animal intelligence. I first read this book several years ago and reviewed it on my blog then. You can find my longer review of the book in this post.

Dr. John Pilley had always been fascinated by the intelligence of dogs. Several years after retiring from his position as professor of psychology at Wofford College, he decided to embark on a multi-year project that would involve studying how dogs learn the names of objects, complex problem-solving skills, and other concepts that are often considered to be uniquely human.

Dr. Pilley’s subject was Chaser, a young border collie puppy. However, Dr. Pilley writes in the book that “I see Chaser as a co-investigator and research assistant rather than as an experimental subject. Just as she’s a part of our family, she’s also the other half of my research team.”

In the book, Dr. Pilley chronicles his adventures teaching Chaser the names of over 1,000 objects, noun categories, basic grammar concepts, and much more. In the beginning, Dr. Pilley spent several hours a day working with Chaser. This work paid off. By the time Chaser was seven and a half months old, she already knew over 200 words. I really enjoyed Dr. John Pilley’s description of how he taught Chaser the names of words, which involved what he called “learning by play.”

A quote from the book "Chaser" by Dr. John Pilley

Dr. Pilley also describes the research he did to demonstrate that Chaser could learn the names of new objects by exclusion. Learning by exclusion means that the dog is presented with a variety of known objects and one new object. After practicing with several of the known objects, the researcher then says a new name, and the dog picks the new object. The dog is able to figure out in a single trial that the new name must go with the new object.

This was important work because many researchers believed that only humans could learn by exclusion. Some research had been done previously on exclusion with another dog, but researchers had raised some objections to the methods that were used in that study. Dr. Pilley thought he could demonstrated convincingly that Chaser could learn by this method. And, he was successful.

Here’s a video showing Chaser using exclusion to learn new words:

If you’re interested in learning more about Dr. Pilley’s work with Chaser, check out “Chaser: Unlocking the genius of the dog who knows a thousand words” on Amazon.

Enter to win a copy of this book

To enter the giveaway:
1) Leave a comment on this post to earn one entry.
2) Fill out the Raffelcopter box below.
3) You can also earn entries by being a member of the StaleCheerios email list and/or by telling a friend about this post!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions
One lucky reader will win a new copy of this book.
Winner will be chosen at random.
This giveaway ends on Friday, Dec. 14, 2018 at 11:59pm Central Standard Time.
Winner will be notified via email on December 15.
If the winner does not respond by Dec 17, he/she will forfeit the prize.
Void where prohibited.
Entering the giveaway form means you agree to the terms listed above.

Take a moment to enter the rest of my holiday giveaways!

If you liked this post, take a moment to share it!

, , , ,

Don't miss out on great information about animal training! Subscribe now to the Stale Cheerios newsletter and receive email updates when new posts are published.

Disclaimer: StaleCheerios posts occasionally contain affiliate links. Affiliate links are one way that StaleCheerios can continue providing top-quality content to you completely for free. Thank you for supporting our hard work! Learn more here.