chaser book review – the dog who knows a thousand words

[Sponsored post for Chaser by John W. Pilley via BlogPaws but all opinions are my own.]

Chaser, Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows a Thousand Words by John W. Pilley is the story of the author’s border collie, Chaser. This inspiring book tells the story of Chaser’s remarkable learning abilities and was a joy to read.
Border collies are naturals at learning commands for herding, but Pilley believed that Chaser’s learning could go beyond that. He gave each of her toys a unique name and Chaser learned the proper names for each of her over 1,000 toys, as well as different verbs. Pilley worked to show beyond a doubt that Chaser had developed a real association between a word and its meaning. He sought to show that dogs could understand context and use their imagination in reasoning tasks.
Though most of us don’t have the time to devote to training that Pilley did, his methods are common sense and can easily be transferred into teaching our own dogs simple words and commands. I love that the main focus of his teaching with Chaser was based on play. She loved learning because it was fun and it was a way to hang out with her humans and make them happy. Though my pugs are pretty stubborn, I’d love to try to use some of Pilley’s techniques with them.
It took years for Pilley to get his findings published in a journal. Once he was published though, the news about Chaser and her vocabulary went viral. I loved reading the part of the book where Chaser and Pilley did the media rounds and everyone was blown away with her abilities – I felt so excited for both of them that Chaser’s skills were being recognized.
In the beginning of the book, John noted that Chaser was not his experiment subject, but rather, she was his co-investigator and research assistant. I love that they mutually taught each other things.The best summation of this book is from Pilley himself in a video here – that the book “confirms what dog lovers have always known – dogs are smarter than we think.” As a fellow dog lover, I couldn’t agree more and would recommend this inspiring read to any animal lover. 

For more information about Chaser and the book, go here. It comes out on October 29, 2013. If you are an animal lover, I think this book will be right up your alley. It really made me so happy to read about Chaser’s accomplishments and the genius of animals. Leave me a comment to let me know if you’ve checked the book out once it is released! Happy Monday everyone and hope you all had a great weekend!


  1. says

    Oh…this sounds so good! I definitely want to read it. I used to have a dachshund that knew all the different names for her toys. I could say “get the pig” and she would or “get the hamburger” and she would. She was my only dog and I was amazed when I offered her yogurt on a spoon and she ate it like a human. She’d learned to use a spoon by watching me. This dog could play cards. You’d deal her a hand and tell her to pick a card and she would! She’d pull one card out with her teeth and throw it down on the table. Oh…tooo bad this was before YouTube…she and I would have been a sensation. Now I have four dachshunds and they all eat off spoons like humans…but they learned from each other rather than from watching me.Well…the first one learned from me and other’s followed her. I hate to say that these four don’t have as large of vocabularies because having four…I don’t have the time to devote to each one like I did when I had one. But they do know lots or words. I know dogs know a lot more than they get credit for.

  2. says

    I definitely think dogs are very smart and are capable of learning a lot if you take the time to work with them. Oliver knows the difference between his ball and his bone if I tell him which one to get. :)

    The Tiny Heart

  3. says

    OMG SO CUTE!!!! My dog Buddy is a genius (in my huble opinion). I really think he understand so much of what I say to him. And our other dog Scout is… lets say intellectually challenged and he doesn’t understand anything. I want to read this… Will it make me cry? If Chaser did media rounds, she is still alive and I won’t cry (Do not mention Marley and Me to me, seriously). I must check this out!


  4. says

    Great review! I read and reviewed the book also, but now that my post is up, I want to read everyone else’s too, just to see what each of us took from the book that might be the same or different.
    Oh, and your pugs are adorable….I love pugs!
    Jan, Wag ‘n Woof Pets

  5. says

    I’ll be adding this to my amazon wish list! Any book that is a good read and could also help me train the dogs, sounds like a good book to me! Just watched the trailer too, and I’m completely inspired! Thanks for sharing!

  6. says

    I love dogs and love dog books too – I remember seeing a clip of a dog that could pick out any toy in a room full of toys by name and I thought wow that’s amazing! I’ll definitely give this book a look!

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