Dog lovers all over the world have known the Border Collie is a highly intelligent dog and one that keeps their owners on their toes! But there is one Border Collie that has impressed the world like no other and her name is Chaser.
Chaser can understands over 1000 words and can differentiate between verbs and nouns. She is so intelligent that she can recognise 800 different animals made out of cloth as well as 116 different balls and 100 toys. Chaser was part of a very intense study carried out in North Carolina at Wofford College and the results of the study are pretty impressive to say the least!
To top everything off, Chaser showed researchers that she understood some English grammar which just add more value to her other amazing achievements during the time the research was carried out. This nine year old Border Collie showed the researchers she was capable of learning and responding to them much as a child would do.
When Chaser was asked to do certain tests and trials, she showed the researchers that she could understand nouns and verbs and was successful in 75% of the tests and tasks she was asked to do. The research lasted a whole seven years and the results were published in the renowned Learning and Motivation journal.
Chaser was born back in 2004 and lived with the researchers in their home becoming a real member of their family whilst at the same time being main subject of the research. This ultra clever Border Collie learned 1,022 nouns in the first 3 years of her life and was able to recognise over 800 animals that were made out of cloth. Along with this she could spot the difference between 116 balls and 100 toys – not one of them was the same!
Every month, Chaser had to take a test to see how many toys she'd not only learned to recognise but identify too and she was consistently right 95% of the time impressing the researchers more than they had every anticipated. Her ability to remember an extraordinary amount of words is astonishing considering it involves many skills including memory and discrimination to name but two. All this led to the fact the researchers are now convinced that dogs like Chaser have the ability to learn and fully understand the human language!
Chaser was taught some grammar which proved she could understand syntax and semantics taking it all very much in her stride! This clever Border Collie recognised the toys involved in the tests as well as where they needed to be taken to! When it came to how good she was at the tests she was given, out of 24 tests she got it right 18 times which translates to 75% of the time!
Chaser was also clever enough to respond to things she had never seen before and just as with children she showed she was capable of understanding the meaning of the sentences even when an object she had never seen or encountered before was involved in the tests.
At the end of the day, dog lovers the world over have known their pooches are a little more intelligent than they sometimes make out! Many owners are convinced their dogs talk to them – and this research and the three studies carried out using Chaser as the main subject, has proved that yes indeed, a dog is capable of processing and retaining many memories that involve direct and prepositional items and objects!
In fact, the published paper compares the findings to data that was obtained from studying dolphins and we all know how clever these marine creatures have proved to be! The research shows that dogs like Chaser, don't just memorise words but that her brain works much like the way a humans' brain works – which is an amazing discovery!
It's brilliant that studies like this have been carried out and many dog owners will take cheer at the fact their dogs are as intelligent and clever as they always thought they were. So next time you talk to your dog, watch them carefully because you can be sure they have understood more than you first imagined. The published report is great news for dog owners who've known for a long time that their pooches are clever four legged friends, and as a bonus people know that “man's best friend” can always be relied on!