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Imprint: Oneworld Publications

Subject: Nature


Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows 1000 Words

Dr. John W. Pilley Hilary Hinzmann

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 behaviours by imitation. Yet astonishingly, Chaser isn’t unique. John’s training methods can be adopted by any dog lover.

While sharing the poignant story of raising Chaser, John shows how to incorporate learning into play and more effectively channel a dog’s natural drives. His work with Chaser points us towards a new way of relating to our canine companions that takes into account our evolving understanding of the way animals and humans learn.

  • Publication date: November 3, 2014
  • ISBN: 9781780747026
  • RRP: £9.99
  • Pages: 288


"Chaser is the most scientifically important dog in over a century. Her fascinating story reveals just how sophisticated a dog's mind can be." 

Brian Hare, author of The Genius of Dogs

"This is an extraordinary book full of warmth and wisdom that has the potential to forever change the way we look at dogs."

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, author of Dogs Never Lie about Love

 "This marvelous blend of good science and heartwarming dog story will inspire all of us to reexamine our canine friends.

Booklist, *starred* review

"After you read Chaser you will realise that you may have underestimated the intelligence of your dog. Marvellous insights into a dog's mind."

Temple Grandin, author of Animals Make Us Human

"A delightful memoir that offers a challenge to behavioral psychologists and inspiration for pet lovers." 

Kirkus Reviews

"A Border Collie that understands lots of words won’t surprise people who work with these inventive dogs, but what makes John Pilley’s tale special is his dogged determination, long after his retirement from teaching psychology, to keep his own brain fizzing with all the new words and techniques and ideas he needs to learn to get his results published in a respected science journal."

Bruce Fogle, author of The Dog’s Mind and The Encyclopedia of Dogs

More books by Dr. John W. Pilley

Hilary Hinzmann

Formerly an editor at W. W. Norton & Company, Hilary Hinzmann is a freelance editor and writer. 



Author page

More books by Dr. John W. Pilley

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