If I agree to do something, you can “bet your doodle” –  I really try to do it! Unfortunately with two doodles, family, blogging, and all those other things that get in between, I sometimes can be a little “tardy for the party.”

Because I try to juggle many things in the air, I seem to be the poster child for “better late than never.” I could tell you correcting or adjusting this behavior is on my New Years Resolution “to-do” list, but it isn’t. I’ve accepted the fact that this is how I’m made, and I’m living with it. With that confession out in the open, let me jump right in with our book review on CHASER the Border Collie.

It was late September when I humbly accepted the invitation to read…


In early November when the book arrived, I was so excited I even mentioned it briefly in a previous post: AN EXTRAORDINARY DAY


Perhaps there is more to Leo the literary doodle than I knew …

There’s no real excuse for the length of time it took for me to finish, other than:

  • I took my time with every chapter
  • I read it from cover to cover
  • I learned
  • I laughed
  • I thoroughly enjoyed it.

So what did I think?

Chaser, the Border Collie is simply amazing…


…and John W. Pilley unlocked a door for me to a whole new way of communicating with Harley & Leo!

I’ve always been fascinated with them. I could sit in a corner and watch them all day. I am without words on how well they communicate with each other, their outstanding ability for deductive reasoning, and OMD, how they listen, relate and seem to understand me.

When asked about his book, John Pilley stated:

Readers will discover that their dog is smarter and more capable of learning than they may imagine. My book shares an open-ended method of training that emphasizes playful interaction with the trainer as the reward. Dogs will never tire of play that releases their instinctive drives, and they will never lose interest in joyful interaction with affectionate trainers.”

That intrigued me, and it’s probably why I took my time reading this book. My doods never tire of play, and they never lose interest. They weren’t Border Collies, but then this method could be applied to all dogs, so why not mine?

“Pilley’s training methods can be effectively put to use by any dog lovers looking to unlock their dog’s potential. He reveals the positive impact of incorporating learning into play and more effectively channeling a dog’s natural drives.”

I know I do not have what it takes to teach Harley or Leo to understand over 1,000 words, but I could teach them so much more with a better understanding of how they learn.

Let’s take Leo and “Wilson”


Never, ever (I mean EVER) apart

As I told DH, you can’t tell Leo to simply “get the ball”, he is liable to bring back anything. He knows his ball as “Wilson.” When I think back to the beginning, I never called it ball, (don’t ask me why). I would say to him “get Wilson.” Over time, through repetition, along with me giving the activity a name, we were channeling Leo’s natural drive of fetch while learning and playing with the ball as a reward.

Hey, I was on to something (even if I didn’t know it at the time). So to test this as I continued to read, I been observing repetitive activity more, giving their learned behavior names, and incorporating it more and more with the action (in a playful manner).

So far, so good. We’re not ready for “prime-time” yet, but I am pleased to report progress with both Leo and Harley. They seem to have a greater appetite towards pleasing me as well.

I know very little about Border Collies. I do know that they are playful, and active. Mila is a neighborhood Border Collie /Shepherd cross and plays often with the Boys…


Many morning walks turn into morning romps

As I approached the middle of the book, I thought more about Mila. When Pilley described the herding instinct, I laughed. Mila does that all the time with Leo. Does she think he’s a sheep?…


Yes, that’s mud, and right after a bath the day before – yuck!

Her actions now seemed somewhat “text-book” to the comparisons made in the book about Chaser in the herding chapters…


So cute!

I couldn’t wait to finish the book…


Is she contemplating bringing Harley back or trying to prevent Leo from moving?

I wanted Mila’s mom to read it…


Couldn’t wait to finish the book and give it to Karen

Watch Mila in action…

“Pilley’s inspiring work with Chaser points us toward a new way of relating to our canine companions, one that takes into account our evolving understanding of the way animals and humans learn.”

I was not compensated in any way for this book review. I was however sent a copy to read, and I have since passed it on to my friend Karen (Mila’s Mom).

My opinion regarding the book is mine alone and I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in knowing more about how animals and humans can learn from one another. You will also be entertained while taking a journey with a man and his dog as he sets out to prove that “teaching has to respect the individual’s temperament and personality. One size does not fit all.”

Thanks for reading, I’ll keep writing, learning, teaching, and most of all PLAYING with The Boys!!!


  • Karen
    December 30, 2013

    Love it! Good video of Mila doing her herding thing.

    • Cathy Bennett
      December 31, 2013

      Thanks Karen, are you enjoying the book? As a Border Collie owner you’ve got to be mesmerized by it’s content.
      Take care and enjoy…

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