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

DSCN3047It's no big secret that I love dogs.  Considering I spend much of my free time writing, it's probably no secret that I also love to read.  I was pretty excited when BlogPaws offered the opportunity for pet bloggers to read and review the new book by retired professor of psychology John W. Pilley, Chaser: Unlocking the Genius of the Dog who Knows a Thousand Words.  Even more exciting?  I was actually a huge fan of Chaser even before reading this book!

Some of you might already know something about Chaser as well.  This beautiful black and white border collie made big news,has been the subject of many news articles, made numerous TV appearances, and is even the subject of a scientific paper that was published in the scientific journal Behavioral Processes.

So what's so special about Chaser?  If you haven't guessed already from the title of Dr.Pilley's new book - Chaser has been able to learn the names of over 1,000 objects!  In fact, Chaser is now up to 1,022 words!  Not only does she know the names of over one thousand items (toys), but she also understands verbs and prepositions.  Genius indeed!

I really enjoyed reading this book!  It's a book about an adorable dog, what's not to love right?  But it's so much more than that!  Dr. Philley does an amazing job of describing the science behind Chaser's smarts.  Coming from a scientific background, I really appreciated that.  The book includes descriptions of the experiments (more like play sessions) that Philley developed to test Chaser's intelligence, and the tale of his plight to get his findings on Chaser's amazing genius published in a scientific journal.

Don't take the word "experiments" the wrong way though.  Throughout the book Philley makes it clear just how loved Chaser is.  She is very much a beloved part of the Pilley family.  The way Chaser learns language is very similar to the way young children do.  The experiments designed to test her knowledge all revolve around play.  What dog wouldn’t be overjoyed to have over a thousand toys and an owner who spends hours a day playing with them?

I highly recommend this book.  It was a great combination of intellectual and cute!  Pilley found the perfect balance between telling heartwarming dog stories, and describing the science behind Chaser's genius - not an easy thing to do!

I truly believe that Chaser's story and the amazing work her owner has done could change the way the world looks at animals, especially dogs.

If you want to check out Chaser: Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows a Thousand Words for yourself, you can do so here.  Sales start on October 29th.  Make sure to check out BlogPaws' #BlogPawsChat Twitter chat on October 22nd for a chance to win a free book and dog toy!  You can also follow Chaser on Twitter, and on her Facebook Page.

** Disclaimer: This post was sponsored.  I received the book mentioned in this review as well as monetary compensation in exchange for my honest review.  As always, all opinions expressed in this post are my own. **

6 thoughts on “Book Review- Chaser: Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows a Thousand Words

  1. Jan K

    I've been trying to make it around to read everyone's reviews! Yours was great. You are so right that the author found the perfect balance between the science and the heartwarming dog stories. That was one of the things that surprised me most about the book. Will probably see you on the chat tomorrow night!

    1. Michelle

      It surprised me as well!

      Thanks so much for stopping by 🙂 I will be at the chat tonight. See you there!

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