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Dog-Language

Smarter than the average dog?

A member of the American Kennel Club says it proves people who talk to their dogs are not crazy -- but are "cutting-edge communicators." Researchers in Germany say they've found a border collie named Rico who can understand more than 200 words -- and can learn new ones as quickly as many children. They had Rico fetch a toy he had never heard of, and they say he found it by eliminating the names of toys he knew. One skeptic says while children can understand words in a variety of contexts, Rico's understanding seems to be part of his fetching behavior. He says more experiments should be done to see if Rico can display knowledge of a word in some way other than fetching -- and if he can follow an instruction not to fetch something. The research is in the magazine Science.

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