Can Dogs Learn Words?

Researchers at Wofford College had been working with this Border Collie, Chaser, for a while. It was reported that Chaser knew the names of 1,022 objects, with no upper limit to her extensive vocabulary.  Her story reveals the potential for taking out dialogue with dogs well beyond “fetch.” When retired psychology professor John Pilley first got his new puppy, Chaser, he wanted to explore the boundaries of language learning and communication between humans and dogs. Chaser’s accomplishments are revolutionizing the way we think about the intelligence of animals

Read more about Chase in John Pilley’s book Chaser: Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows a Thousand Words’.

Says Wofford researcher Alliston Reid: “This research is important because it demonstrates that dogs, like children, can develop extensive vocabularies and understand that certain words represent individual objects and other words represent categories of objects, independent in the meaning of what one is asked to do with those objects.”

The Family Education Network provides excellent, detailed instructions on one way you 

can teach your dog new words. In a nutshell, you begin by teaching your dog to touch your hand. When she does this, you provide a small food reward. Next, provide an object, such as a favorite ball. Ask your dog to touch the ball. If your dog touches your hand, do not offer the food reward. Only do so when it gets the “ball” connection. After some practice with this, you can test your dog by presenting multiple objects, such as ropes and other toys, to see if it gets that “rope” refers to the rope, “ball” refers to the ball, and so on.

For more information on teaching your dog to recognize words, see our article ‘Teach Your Dog the A, B, Cs.’

Article written by Author: The Dog Daily Expert

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