Chaser: Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows a Thousand Words

The amazing story of a very smart Border collie who is redefining animal intelligence.

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 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 behaviors 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.

Video by Passerby Films


wwfokc says:

This dog has a higher iq than most niggers lol

MizKuno says:

i love what he says about play. that is so true my dog just loves chasing things his herding instincts are always showing these dogs are so dmart

Odelette Delacroix says:

i love the way chaser looks to hear the instructions soooo precious


My Labrador/Mix shelter dog knows Wabbit, Pork. E. Pine, Football, Jump up, Outside, bed, got to go out, Be right back, hotdog, Water, and probably more that I am unaware of. Can't imagine life without a dog to share it with. Up into my mid-twenties I really didn't like dogs. I would take a cat any day over a dog. Since my thirties I have changed and now I love dogs. I have six rescue dogs and wouldn't trade any of them for any cat in the world.

Warden Raz says:

Great dog and owner.

I'm just wondering why anyone hasn't pointed out he sounds just like Bob Barker?

J says:

I wonder if Chaser was a puppy when he came to this owner or already grown?

Carnivore Meat says:

my dogs name is chaser

Sue Egland says:

Chaser is a delight,and so are you. It is wonderful when an animal and a human can learn to love and understand each other. there is one thing for sure, when a dog gives you its love, it is true love. They don't pretend anything.

mariana soto giraldo says:

Who wouldn´t love this video?

Nicole L says:


Antonius vd Klis says:

Dogs are much more clever then we think. Better nose, better ears. They can focus in a way we never can. You only must take time to see it and give attention to it. The most people like a dog, but have no idea how to live with them. Millions off dogs end up in a shelter and get killed. Because WE people are the stupid idiots who do that. In some countries they kill them to eat, those countries are missing complete some education about our environment. Its a shame the education level is so much different. WE are the killing ANIMALS on this planet. One day nature will pay back, probably for good…. .

honeybeebadger says:

Brilliant thanks for uploading

Shane Stewart says:

dogs are awsome

karlla Suzanne says:

amo cachorros,tenho duas vira latas que adotei bebezinhas uma se chama manu e a outra Lola são muito fofas

Debonaire Death says:

To the scientific community I would presume this is recognized as a remarkable outlier.

This certainly isn't representative of most dogs, if for no other reason because people do not have the will, means or wherewithall to dedicate this kind of time into the happiness and health of themselves, let alone their their pets, but I also think that different breeds express extremely distinct levels of intelligence.

Calculating Pi to thousands of digits using mental math is something a human being has done before, but it is not something every human can do. There is a big difference.

BlackZero Rs says:

When she dies, he will die without her! That love is priceless!

John Zoccano says:

If after watching this video, it doesn't illicit an emotional reaction, then there's something wrong with ya…

FLBiker says:

What a great dog and man. Sad to say but that that man will probably die from grief if anything ever happened to Chaser.

John Zoccano says:

I have a Goldendoodle and they are known for the intelligence, but a border collie is in a leaque of their own. In my opinion they are by far the smartest dogs. I would like to see any other breed accomplish this amazing feat. Not likely.

XamylaurenX says:

Play doesn't work for my dog she will only play when she wants to play

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