Thanks to the Daily Mail phoning me up for a quote yesterday I know that the latest edition of New Scientist includes the story in depth:
"To find out whether there was a limit to the number of words a border collie could learn, psychologists Alliston Reid and John Pilley of Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, started an intensive training programme with Chaser.
"Over three years, they taught the collie the names of 1022 toys by introducing them to her one by one, getting her to fetch the toy and then repeating the name to reinforce the association.
"The team regularly tested Chaser on her entire vocabulary. Groups of 20 toys were chosen at random and put in a separate room from where Chaser had to retrieve them by name. The toys were in another room so the trainer would not unintentionally give Chaser cues about which toy to choose. According to Reid, the dog completed 838 of these tests over 3 years and never got less than 18 out of 20 right (Behavioural Processes, DOI: 10.1016/j.beproc.2010.11.007)."
This is obviously a big leap for the scientific community but possibly just reinforces many owners' existing belief that their dog understands every word they say.
Other great milestones in doggie intelligence:
The first day Endal helped his wheelchair bound owner without being asked by helping him to use the cash point machine.
Vicki McCleod's super-dogs that started attempting to speak and unlike a parrot used this ability to ask for things they wanted!
Can you think of any other significant advances?