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Chaser: Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows a Thousand Words Hardcover – October 29, 2013

4.7 out of 5 stars 300 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* There probably isn’t another breed of dog with the drive to work as the border collie, so it is no surprise that the dog that knows more than 1,000 words is that breed. Chaser arrived in the author’s household as an eight-week-old puppy, destined for the dual role of pet and research subject. From the start, she demonstrated a quick ability to learn, a strong herding drive, and an open and accepting personality, all of which made her the ideal dog for training and for advanced learning. In a warm, folksy narrative style, Pilley describes the steps he took in teaching words to Chaser: along with learning the standard herding commands, Chaser was also taught to differentiate between her toys by their names. Pilley artfully describes his training techniques, which can be extrapolated to any dog, and shows us exactly how Chaser learned. When the author and a colleague published a scientific paper on Chaser’s achievements, her fame went viral, and she was invited to demonstrate her genius on TV. This marvelous blend of good science and heartwarming dog story will inspire all of us to reexamine our canine friends. --Nancy Bent

Review

"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, coauthor of The Genius of Dogs

"After you read Chaser, you will realize that you may have underestimated the intelligence of your dog. Marvelous insights into a dog’s mind."
—Temple Grandin, author of
Animals in Translation and Animals Make Us Human

"This is an extraordinary book, full of warmth and wisdom that has the potential to forever change the way we look at dogs. While Chaser herself seems extraordinary, maybe she is also every dog, in showing us what every dog is capable of.  Maybe not every dog can learn over a thousand words, but every dog I have ever known can read our heart, and that, to me, is the great secret between dogs and humans that we are just now learning, and which is so deeply evident in this wonderful book:  Chaser loves people, and because of that love she will do anything asked of her, even learn the names of one thousand toys! Dr. John Pilley’s work with Chaser is not only a loving affirmation for readers who already know how much they adore and trust the ability of dogs, but is also a game-changer for skeptical scientists, who must find themselves, after reading this remarkable book, inching closer to recognizing the full humanity of dogs."
—Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, author of When Elephants Weep and Dogs Never Lie About Love

"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

"If a truly great book leaves one better for having read it, then Chaser is quite simply a masterpiece.  Dogs and those of us who love them owe to debt of gratitude to the brilliant, courageous author and his equally heroic subject."
—Jennifer Arnold, author of Through a Dog’s Eyes

"An engrossing and remarkable tale." -- The Bark "A delightful memoir that offers a challenge to behavioral psychologists and inspiration for pet lovers." -- Kirkus Reviews "This marvelous blend of good science and heartwarming dog story will inspire all of us to reexamine our canine friends." -- Booklist, *starred* review


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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
300 customer ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on February 23, 2014
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Top international reviews

Canis bonus
5.0 out of 5 stars A behind-the-scenes look at the life of Chaser, the dog with the world’s largest vocabulary of understanding human words.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 21, 2015
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SecondCherry
4.0 out of 5 stars A sweet book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 8, 2015
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Mini
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 12, 2019
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KAREN PERRY
5.0 out of 5 stars For doglovers
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 8, 2019
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 17, 2017
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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 23, 2016
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Michael John Nicholl
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 5, 2015
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Mrs D.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 17, 2015
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mike hodge
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 28, 2014
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Beakie
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming and Informative
Reviewed in Canada on January 31, 2020
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Susiesorglos
5.0 out of 5 stars Use read for a true dog lover.
Reviewed in Canada on August 18, 2019
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A Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Border Collies are brilliant. Thanks, Chaser!
Reviewed in Canada on February 22, 2016
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Joan M
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book.
Reviewed in Canada on August 15, 2019
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daughter of the King
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing story
Reviewed in Canada on September 6, 2019
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Panalou
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinaire
Reviewed in France on April 17, 2014
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