ScienceDaily (2011-01-06) — Researchers at Wofford College discovered that a border collie comprehends the names of over 1,000 objects, differentiating between names of objects and orders to fetch them. This research deepens the findings of researchers in Germany, who had discovered a dog that knew the names of a couple of hundred objects. Important questions were left open as to how far a dog could go, and whether the dog really understood that the object names were nouns and not commands to retrieve the object.
John Pilley and Alliston Reid answered two central questions with their research: How large can a dog’s vocabulary become if given extensive training? What do dogs actually understand when we use human language to communicate with them? These findings are published in the Elsevier journal Behavioural Processes.