Dec 2, 2018


Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows a Thousand Words
by John W. Pilley with Hilary Hinzmann

Famous border collie Chaser knows the names- proper nouns- assigned to 1,022 toys and a lot of directive verbs and commands as well. Her owner was a college professor who taught behavioral psychology and brought his dogs into the classroom (border collie mixes and a few other dogs he had before Chaser's time) so his students could apply methods they had learned to teach the dogs new behaviors (an annoying one was teaching his dog Grindle to answer telephones- which then got left off the hook for hours before someone noticed!) After he retired, the author deliberately set out to discover how much language he could teach to a border collie- from the start he was intent on shaping Chaser's learning and response to spoken language, especially her ability to recall names of objects. It's pretty amazing. Unfortunately, I couldn't stick with this book. I found the writing style uninteresting, the daily life details and conversations only distracted me, and many of the explanations became repetitive. I started skimming a lot before getting halfway through and decided to just move on. Something about it failed to hold my attention.

Borrowed from the public library.

Abandoned            260 pages, 2013

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  1. Sorry this one didn't work for you. I love the cover.

  2. Ah, well, I'm among the few if you look at many other reviews online- so give it a try if it sounds interesting! Certainly a fascinating dog, just wasn't a great read for me personally.

  3. Very interesting idea! Just too bad the book didn't live up to it...


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