Video | Teaching rescue dogs to drive cars

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Yes, some animal experts in New Zealand have taught three rescue dogs how to drive. Here are several videos proving they actually did it and the exciting tale of the tail.

Driving-dogs---video-still-in-car-steering-wheel-with-pawsAstonishingly, it took three rescue mutts just eight weeks to master the basics in wooden carts. Then they went to the real thing. This unusual project is the brainchild of SPCA Auckland CEO Christine Kalin and famous animal trainer Mark Vette from Animals on Q. The real purpose is to show people how smart dogs really are and make them more desirable for adoption.

Video of dog learning to drive a car

Ms. Kalin spoke about the difficulty in placing dogs from a shelter: “I think sometimes people think because they’re getting an animal that’s been abandoned that somehow it’s a second-class animal.

Driving dogs - Porter, a 10 month old beardie cross, is one of three dogs being trained to drive a specially converted Mini

Porter, a 10 month old beardie cross, is one of three dogs being trained to drive a specially converted Mini

Driving a car actively demonstrates to potential rescue dog adopters that you can teach an old dog new tricks. The dogs have achieved amazing things in eight short weeks of training, which really shows with the right environment just how much potential all dogs from the SPCA have as family pets.”

Driving dogs - Monty, an 18 month old Giant Schnauzer cross in one of the specially built training cars

Monty, an 18 month old Giant Schnauzer cross in one of the specially built training carts

After training in the wooden carts which they have been driving around inside an indoor test lab, the dogs then graduated to a modified Mini in which they sat on their haunches in the driver’s seat with their paws on the steering wheel. Their feet go on extension levers which are attached to the accelerator and the brake while their paw rests on the gearstick.

CBS News video shows rescue dogs training to drive cars

Mark Vette, the animal trainer who is schooling the dogs, said in a preview of the show that they treated the training like a ‘film shoot’, in reference to his work in the movies. He said: ‘We train the dogs to do different actions, touch is the first thing and then we teach them to touch the different objects with the right paw and left paw.

Driving dogs - Ginnie, a one year old Beardie Whippet Cross is the third driver in the group

Ginnie, a one year old Beardie Whippet Cross is the third driver in the group

The dogs that were chosen were Porter, a 10-month old Beardie Cross, Monty, an 18-month-old Schnauzer Cross, and Ginny, a one-year-old Beardie Whippet Cross. All of them had been rescued by the SPCA.

The organisation hopes that the public will be so impressed with the animals that they will adopt them and others like them.

Driving dogs - Porter, a ten-month-old beardie cross, became the first dog in the world to drive a car. He negotiatied a New Zealand race track in the specially modified Mini

Porter became the first dog in the world to drive a car. He negotiatied a New Zealand race track in the specially modified Mini

SPCA Auckland Chief executive Christine Kalin said: ‘I think sometimes people think because they’re getting an animal that’s been abandoned that somehow it’s a second-class animal. ‘The dogs have achieved amazing things in eight short weeks of training, which really shows with the right environment just how much potential all dogs from the SPCA have as family pets.’

Video | dog driving Mini car around race track

By Mark Prigg