Fri 31 Dec 2010
Chaser, a female Border Collie, has been taught the names of 1022 toys. That’s a lot of names.
Over the course of three years, psychologists Alliston Reid and John Pilley of Wofford College in South Carolina, introduced a toy with a name and got Chaser to fetch it when asked.
The testers chose groups of twenty Chaser-known toys. These toys were put into a room. In a separate adjacent room (so the handler could not inadvertently cue the dog) Chaser was asked to fetch, by name, one of the toys. Chaser would leave, enter the other room with the toys, choose the appropriately named toy, and bring it back to the handler in the other room.
According to Reid, Chaser completed 838 of these tests over 3 years and never got less than 18 out of 20 right.
Chaser was also taught to categorize the named objects, complete tasks such as touching the toy with her nose or paw, and she could infer the name of a new object from a set of familiar objects.
Here is a link that shows Chaser in action.
I would bet that many of you have trained your dog to fetch up named objects. If you tell your dog “Get your ball!” does he? Still others train their dog to fetch a beer out of the fridge, fetch the remote control, car keys, slippers, newspapers, and glasses.
How many names of items does your dog know? Can your dog learn more? Can your dog break Chase’s record? How did you train your dog? Do you have videos?