Tell us a story

LoveReading is thrilled to announce the launch of The Very Short Story Award 2019! If you think you have a story we'll love, click here to find out more and how to enter:

Find out more

Chaser Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows 1000 Words

by Dr. John W. Pilley, Hilary Hinzmann

Biography / Autobiography The Real World

LoveReading View on Chaser Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows 1000 Words

The incredible story of Chaser the dog with owner, John Pilley claiming that she knows more than 1,000 words, not only recognising the names of hundreds of toys but also nouns and even sentences. As well as telling Chaser’s story retired psychologist John Pilley shares his training methods allowing dog owners and their dogs to find the positive results of such intensive training.

Like for Like Reading
The Genius of Dogs: Discovering the Unique Intelligence of Man's Best Friend, Brian Hare & Vanessa Woods
In Defence of Dogs, John Bradshaw

Sue Baker

Chaser Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows 1000 Words Synopsis

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 memorised 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. John's ingenuity and tenacity as a researcher are as impressive as Chaser's accomplishments. His groundbreaking approach has opened the door to a new understanding of animal intelligence, one that requires us to reconsider what actually goes on in a dog's mind. Chaser's achievements reveal her use of deductive reasoning and complex problem-solving skills to address novel challenges. Yet astonishingly, Chaser isn't unique. John's training methods can be adopted by any dog lover. Through the poignant story of how he trained Chaser, raised her as a member of the Pilley family, and proved her abilities to the scientific community, he reveals the positive impact of incorporating learning into play and more effectively channeling a dog's natural drives. John's work with Chaser offers a fresh perspective on what's possible in the relationship between a dog and a human. His story points us toward a new way of relating to our canine companions that takes into account our evolving understanding of the way animals and humans learn.

Chaser Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows 1000 Words Press Reviews

'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


'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


'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


'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


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


If you loved this, you might like these...

Jo Malone: My Story
The Life and Times of a Very British Man
More Dashing Further Letters of Patrick Leigh Fermor
Where Has Mummy Gone?

All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781780747026
Publication date: 03/11/2014
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781780747026
Publication date: 3rd November 2014
Author: Dr. John W. Pilley, Hilary Hinzmann
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 288 pages
Genres: Biography / Autobiography, The Real World,
Categories: Dogs as pets, Popular science,

About Dr. John W. Pilley, Hilary Hinzmann

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. Formerly an editor at W. W. Norton & Company, Hilary Hinzmann has edited New York Times Book Review Notable Books of the Year in both fiction and nonfiction. He coaches writers on the development of their work, edits manuscripts for publishers, and serves as collaborator, ghostwriter, or editor/book doctor on varied nonfiction projects.

More About Dr. John W. Pilley, Hilary Hinzmann

Share this book