Pretty soon your dogs will be able to repay you for all those walks you've taken them on ... by taking you for a drive. This is no joke: Dog trainers in New Zealand are teaching canines to drive cars, according to Fox 13 News in Tampa Bay. (And you thought your dog was only good for chasing cars.)
The SPCA in Auckland needed a creative outlet for some of their better-disciplined rescue dogs, so they figured, why not teach them to drive? Trainers are also using the dogs' driving skills as a way of showcasing just how intelligent these canines can be.
You may have to see it before you can believe it, but with a little direction (and a few doggie treats) the dogs actually do a surprisingly good job at steering their vehicles. You can view a video of Fox 13 News' report here:
"No animal has ever driven a car before, so what we're going to do is we're going to do a straight, and we're going to head off ... so we'll start the car, get into position, brake on, gear in place, back onto the steering wheel, accelerator, take off and head along the straight and then stop," explained trainer Mark Vette of the training regimen.
Frankly, it's impressive enough that the dogs actually keep their eyes on the road without sticking their heads out the window.
One of the star pupils, Monty, an 18-month-old giant schnauzer, was abandoned by his owners because he was deemed "too hard to handle." Needless to say, Monty's success as a driver displays just how shortsighted that original judgment was. All he needs now is a chauffeur's cap and he'll be good to go.
Monty was hand-picked out of a pool of seven dogs for the project, along with two mixed breeds, Ginny and Piper. The three dogs will be testing their driving skills on national television in New Zealand this week. The cars will be placed on a closed course for the event ... at least for now.
There's no telling where this could lead, though the possibilities are fun to imagine. Could man's best friend one day become your designated driver? Might we someday pay our cab fare in doggie treats and stomach rubs? Will future Greyhound buses be driven by actual greyhounds? What's next, dog pilots?
Watching Monty handle the wheel, at least one thing is clear: with a little care and attention, anything is possible for these mutts.
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