One Dog, Many Verbs and Nouns

Luna and one of her favorite toys, Foxy.
Happy Friday, everyone! For those of you who haven't seen it, we wanted to share this amazing video of Chaser, the world's smartest dog (not surprisingly, she's a Border collie). Chaser knows more than 1,000 words and successfully responds to commands that involve both verbs and nouns, such as "paw lamb." After receiving that command, Chaser walks over to her toys and puts a paw on top of her toy lamb. As a reward, she gets to play with her blue ball, aptly named Blue. We've tried this with Judy's dog, Luna, who's adorable and sweet, but she's not as smart as Chaser. We asked Luna to bring over her polar bear toy, but she brought the fox instead (we are still proud of her). Clearly, Judy is no university researcher or dog trainer, and Luna is no Chaser. According to psychologists, Chaser's ability to respond to this many human words nearly puts her at the intellectual level of a three-year-old. 

Watch the video here. How many commands does your furry friend know?


Anke Betz on August 26, 2011 at 6:38 AM said...

Hehe, I'm already happy when my two "sit", "stay", "wait", "come" (although that's usually a whistle) and go to their "Platz", i.e. their pillow. Occasionally a few other commands work, too, but I'm not sure if that's luck or obedience... but for never having been to obedience school, I think they're doing great! :)

I'm a bit, shall I say, "uneasy" about Luna's favorite toy, though... My nickname in the motorcycle world is "Foxy", which is also on my license plate...

Jen on August 26, 2011 at 8:42 AM said...

It's astonishing how smart dogs are. We actually have two: one german shepard (Inga) and one goofy labradoodle (Max.) We also have a cat by the name of Noah. Inga probably knows more commands than Max. We also discovered the other day that whenever we say "Noah" she immediately lifts her ears up and turns her gaze to the stairs (which is where Noah usually stays.) Dogs pick up on things so fast!

Tom Ellett on August 26, 2011 at 9:31 AM said...

Cats are more selective in what they choose to understand. Commands don't work so well with our four, but the phrase "Would you like some treats?" elicits an immediate response.

Kevin Lossner on August 26, 2011 at 12:00 PM said...

@Anke: obedience school is mostly for owners; if they don't learn to be consistent there, not much will be achieved. But the best trained dogs I know have never been near such a place. Sounds like you've got a grip on the basics.

I've found most dogs learn to distinguish their favorite toys or even categories of toys without too much ado. But my DD is so obsessed with retrieving *something* that if I send him after his toy rabbit and he doesn't find it right away, he'll grab a shoe or blanket and drag it around until the rabbit turns up somewhere.

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on August 26, 2011 at 2:43 PM said...

@Anke: that's a lot, four commands, who hoo! And yes, hehe, the full name of one of Luna's favorite toys is "Foxy-Fox." Learned something new about you today! Next time we are in Munich, we will be sure to have a look at your license plate!

@Jen: sounds like you have some brilliant doggies there. Labradoodles are adorable. And yes, it is truly astonishing how much they learn and pick up.

@Tom: yes, we can never get our cat Junia to listen to anything. But just like your kitties, Junia understands "treats" -- and in several languages. :)

@Kevin: thanks for weighing in, doggie expert! Sounds like Ajax is quite the retriever of toys and things. Hopefully he won't try to retrieve anything electronic and work-related...Luna had in-home doggie training, BTW. A very nice dog trainer came to our house for 10 sessions to work with Luna on-one-one. She's kid of a scared-y dog, so we thought at-home training would be better for her. And she definitely does know the basics.

Natia on September 7, 2011 at 2:48 PM said...

I have never actually tried counting, but not even close to that many. But then again, I have not really tried to teach them that many either, just the basics. So who knows what they could learn if I just had the time to teach them?

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