The Kid Should See This

Chaser, the Border Collie that can understand 1022 words (or more)

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Border Collies are known to be super smart and disciplined dogs that can take detailed verbal commands while herding sheep and performing other helpful tasks. How many verbal commands can they understand? This demonstration by Chaser and her owner, psychology professor Dr. John W. Pilley, shows us that they can learn a lot of words: Chaser can identify 1022 toysβ€”probably even more since this clip from the BBC’s Super Smart Animals aired in 2012. That’s “more human language than any other non-primate–and, in fact, more than almost any primate” knows thus far.

Chaser has been called β€œthe most scientifically important dog in over a century.” Can she also make educated guesses when learning new words? Pilley tests her ability to infer the name of new toys, too. From PopSci:

Say you set out three objects for her: one is a Fuzzy, one is a Bamboozel, and one is a New Balance sneaker. Chaser knows the first two objects, knows them by name, but has never seen that sneaker before. But tell her to “fetch New Balance,” and she’ll walk over to the three objects, puzzled, and analyze them for a second. She’ll walk among them, look at them carefully, and then gently grab the sneaker and bring it back to you–because she has figured out that she has to fetch something and this weird object is the only thing that could possibly match up with that weird sound you told her to fetch.

Learn more about their work and play in this HMH Books promo video for his book about Chaser:

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Next, watch Elephant Intelligence, How to Speak Chimpanzee, A wild crow solves a puzzle in 8 parts, and for fun: Omelette.

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