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How Smart Are Dogs? NOVA Science Now Video

Border Collie Puppy Dog PictureHave you heard about the Border Collie dog with a 1000 word vocabulary? No? Well let us, through the good folks at PBS and NOVA Science Now, introduce you to Chaser, the super intelligent Border Collie. This extraordinary dog will demonstrate the potential of dog intelligence and the human-dog bond.

In this segment from a recent Nova Science Now full length program, host Neil Degrasse Tyson first explores Chaser's purported vocabulary and then pushes the limits to test this amazing dog's ability to reach independent conclusions via, what seems to this writer, deductive reasoning. What Degrasse Tyson found seemed to impress him. Perhaps it will have the same effect on you?


While Chaser is certainly an extraordinary individual and the Border Collie is renowned for its smarts among dogs, this story should open all our eyes to some inescapable truths. One is that for all those dog owners who felt that their dogs "got" what they said and understood communication... visual, verbal and the simple shared glance, in many if not most cases, they were correct. Dogs are just gifted readers of the human being. Though they don't start out fluent, and as Chaser demonstrates, it is through kind, patient, painstaking mutual training, that a mutual fluency can develop.

Another truth is that these intelligent, aware and curious companions, who simply love us, care for us when we are blind, physically impaired or, in some cases, harboring cancer unknown within our bodies, deserve to be treated better than they are when so many are abused or abandoned to the streets and shelters across the country. With their huge hearts and intellectual potential, they suffer more than we've ever really imagined.

The quality of this story from NOVA Science Now is typical of the great television produced by PBS. It demonstrates the value public television and radio offer and why support of local PBS stations and PBS, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and NPR is both justified and desired. Do support public broadcasting, won't you please? See more NOVA scienceNOW or watch the full episode.

Comments on this are welcome below!