Friday, January 21, 2011

dubious distinction award to this pair

Cheers for "Chaser," the border collie who (get ready for this) knows 1,022 nouns -- "the largest vocabulary of any known dog." Lucky Chaser, living the doggy dream. Not!

Chaser's owner, a retired psychology prof, bought her in 2004 and began training the puppy 4-5 hours daily. He had read about another dog trained to recognize 200 items. Piffle! John W. Pilley could do better than that.

So poor Chaser was subjected to his training by the hour, and has become a prodigy, by his standards. And as reported in the NYTimes, she asks for more and more drill time.

Whose need was being met here?

Mark your calendar for Feb. 9 when a Nova episode on animal intelligence, starring Chaser, will be broadcast. Meanwhile, you can read the details of Chaser's "education" via the link that follows. And wonder when Chaser might be allowed to retire.

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