This story is all about a very clever Norwegian dog, that knows the names of nearly 100 toys!
Meet Whisky, The Norwegian Border Collie
The world is going through a crazy, turbulent and challenging time right now, but it’s good to keep perspective on things. And dogs can definitely help us do that.
Most dog owners would say that their pooch is smart, but some dogs out there are REALLY smart!
Whisky is a border collie who lives in Norway. Whisky has nearly 100 toys and all of her toys have names. Most of Whisky’s toys have names like “the large Frisbee” or “the colorful box”.
However, due to an increase in the number of toys that Whisky has, some of the newer toys have been given people’s names, such as Henrik or Nora.
When first tested, Whisky demonstrated that she knew the names of at least 54 of her toys. This was out of the 59 that she had at the time.
This initial research was done by Claudia Fugazza at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest, Hungary. Claudia is an animal behavior researcher. She said that this verbal recognition puts Whisky into a very select group of dogs.
A Simple Game Of Fetch
Another border collie, who, incredibly, knew the names of over a thousand different objects, was called Chaser. However, unlike Chaser, Whisky has never undergone any intensive training.
Fugazza said that this makes Whisky’s achievement even more amazing!
Whisky’s owner, Helge Svela, said that Whisky did attend a short training course as a puppy. However, she never continued with any training after that.
Helge said that Whisky learnt the names of her toys during a game that they would always play together. A simple game, in which Whisky would fetch the toy that her owners named.
Helge added that they played this game a lot!
Whisky Proves How Clever She Is!
In order to carry out the research, Claudia Fugazza initially went to Whisky and Helge’s home. In preliminary tests, Whisky succeeded in fetching most of her toys. Next, they did a category test. For this, Fugazza tested Whisky on four new toys at a time.
Sometimes, Claudia would let Whisky play with these new toys with her owners. Sometimes, they would all just leave Whisky to explore all these new toys by herself.
For the next part of the experiment, Claudia set the group of new toys up in one room, whilst she and Helge waited in the kitchen. Whisky was then asked to fetch “a box” or “a ball” or “a Frisbee” – the generic category of the item was always used.
In this particular test, Whisky was successful about 50 per cent of the time. As she was always choosing from 4 different objects, if Whisky were purely choosing at random, then the expected success rate would be around 25 per cent of the time.
As Fugazza attested, Whisky’s success rate was much higher than chance or pure luck.
Nature Or Nurture
Whisky’s achievement was remarkable because it meant that not only was this clever pooch able to group objects into categories in her mind, but that she also knew the actual words for those specific categories!
Fugazza said she believed that it was highly likely that ALL dogs have the ability to think in categories. However, only a very select few knew the actual WORDS for those categories.
And she added that this special talent would be due to either natural ability or intensive training. Either nature or nurture.
Fugazza added that Whisky had learnt all that “naturally, in a way that is actually a little bit similar to what happens to human children”.
She explained that Whisky quickly realized that when she (Fugazza) arrived at the house, it meant that Whisky could play her favorite game over and over again.
And as this is something that border collies simply love to do, Whisky was in her element!
This extremely clever Norwegian dog was able to prove that she genuinely knows the names of almost 100 toys! A truly remarkable achievement!
Source: With special thanks to The Independent
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