They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but now it seems that you can show them how to drive.
An animal welfare group in New Zealand has trained three dogs to get behind the wheel in an attempt to show the public how intelligent they are.
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals will put them to the test in a live broadcast next Monday.
Porter, a 10 month old beardie cross, is one of three dogs being trained to drive a specially converted Mini in a stunt for the New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Monty, an 18 month old Giant Schnauzer cross in one of the specially built training cars built to get the dogs used to the controls of the specially modified mini.
Ginnie, a one year old Beardie Whippet Cross is the third driver in the group
They 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 had been attached to the accelerator and the brake whilst their paw will rest on the gearstick.
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.
The dogs have already tested out the modified mini, and will attempt to drive it live online to raise awareness of the charity trying to rehome them
The dog’s paw will rest on the gearstick which has been moved to allow them to access it easily
‘They’ve all come through at this point and they’re all going really well’.
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.
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.’
The three drivers – Porter, a 10-month old Beardie Cross, Monty, an 18-month-old Schnauzer Cross, and Ginny, a one-year-old Beardie Whippet Cross.
The controls of the mini the dogs will drive