"Cenedl heb iaith, cenedl heb galon"-"A nation without a language is a nation without a heart" Welsh Proverb

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Did your Border Collie go to school or was it just born smart?

    I thought I would get off politics for a post or two because I fear Obama calling me to ask for a break! Well you might think I am going to the dogs for this post but if so a very intelligent one! I try to make my posts interesting to my American as well as my Welsh friends on line so what better than this story!?!  I was reading through the News & Observer a largely Democratic rag here in Durham, N.C. usually filled with pages of basketball and little else! Well we are in the triangle with...Wake Forest, UNC, Duke, North Carolina State and more in the area. But looking to Science & Technology (As Outlined by Obama  we as Americans fall short in)  pages last Sunday I saw something close to my heart Border Collies!
Why? Well my cousin in Wales was Marion Jones national and international champion with Border Collies from nr Ruthin, North Wales. My Welsh friends may remember him as he did the very first "One Man and His Dog." program on BBC! He was famous as well for being able to run seven dogs at the same time! One of my other cousins judges and does dogs as well! I used to sell border collie statues. One time I fell in love with a Border Collie puppy that was walked by my Welsh shop at a fair by a young lady! I asked is it a Welsh Border collie? No she said it is Scottish!!! I asked with interest if she had papers.  Yes I will get them for you from my Mom. Back she came. The papers to my amusement showed that the dogs family came from a farm in Wales quite near relations! The dog was also looking for a new home. I asked how much because it was so hard to give her up!!! $500 was the price and I did not have it! When I got home I called relations and they knew the dog and the owner...come to find out the dog was worth at least $1400+ as it was bread from a champion! You might think of that saying " My Border Collie is smarter than your Honor Student." Well this one out smarted me! O by the way as a LOL I wanted a border collied to herd in my customers! Ha! On that "cheap bark,"  I will get on with the story from the paper!
          The  article was about "Chaser," a border collie from South Carolina (USA) that has learned over 1000 proper nouns! (see Google for more stories and videos on Chaser. Also Chaser will do scienceNow show for Nova 8PM Feb. 9th on PBS)  Well the article rightly stated that Border Collies are the smartest dogs and bread to go all day herding sheep. But more than 1,000 nouns? I had taught school for 7th to High school and most of my students did not have that kind of smarts! LOL! Well John Pilley eighty two year old retired psychologist and Prof. wanted to see if he could beat another German owner who had a dog of two hundred words to his canine mind! Since 04 he has been daily working with the dog 4-5 hours a day doing repetitive words till the dog learned the word of the day! In a matter of three years the vocabulary understood by Chaser was 800 different cloth animals 116 Balls, twenty six Frisbees and many plastic items. Now I am sure that my students could not do this as they barked at reading a chapter a night in their History books! Well at 1,000 words Pilley the article says switched to grammar with the dog! Something from reading test papers from students is something even hard for them to chew on! So on it was to fetching the ball, nosing the ball, pawing the ball and more! He even learned to fetch a new sounding animal from among her old known toys without being told to look it up in the dictionary....sorry I was a teacher ya know! Lol. This is quite a dog!.
        Wonder if they could teach the dog sign language too because I observed my cousins dogs moving to hand commands! I always admire animals that could master another language be it a human or a dog! I wondered if these dogs of my cousin's could take hand commands from me who spoke only American? Well I found out very young at 14 when the dogs raced to save me from a charging bull. (silly city boy on his first real Welsh Farm.) Years later at late in my twenties the dogs taught me something I did not learn in seminary. They taught me the real story of the The Good Shepherd. How you say? Well I thought that sheep were driven, but I observed that as a shepherd it worked better to "walk among the sheep" and let the dogs run behind and around with the sheep. I wonder how Chaser would stand up to my cousins dogs with all the LLs and CHs etc. O did I not tell you that my cousins dogs were smarter than me as they only took their commands in WELSH! LOL Could Chaser learn a 1,000 plus proper nouns in Welsh....I am willing to put money on that canine learning! Hurry up people in Wales learn your Welsh or your Border Collies may be smarter than you!!! LOL No offence intended, but what is it with kids in Wales that Can speak Welsh but do not find it fashionable? I would give anything if my Taid had taught me Welsh now this old dog who has had, Latin, Spanish, German, Ancient Greek and Hebrew courses has a hard time getting Welsh past his tongue! LOL He could have even given Me a Welsh speaking Border Collie (hint, Hint people) I could have learned from him!.............Better get to bed as my somewhat intelligent White German Shepherd is looking at me saying......."What am I chopped liver? I taught you to go to the door and let me out, fill my water dish, feed me, pet me, talk to me and I did this in less than a year!" LOL-

Neil Degrasse Tyson introduces you to one amazing K-9.

Obviously not Border Collie but funny!
This silly barnyard play date looks an awful lot like a furry version of hide and seek.

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