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Chaser has a way with words. She kws over a thousand of them - more than any other animal of any species except humans. In addition to common uns 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.
John Pilley Ph.D., is a retired professor of psychology at Wofford College who, during his teaching career, taught animal behaviour using his dog, Yasha. In retirement Pilley acquired Chaser, a border collie puppy.