I think this is an amazing story and I'm pretty sure all of them got a beautiful new home now. It's a beautiful campaign to raise awareness of all the abandoned dogs and cats that live in a shelter everywhere, not only just in New Zealand.And they're ruff... Now the driving dogs have been let loose on the racetrack (and show they really CAN drive a car)
- Two stray dogs trained in specially modified carts to operate car's controls
- Drove around a racetrack in specially adapted Mini Clubman cars
For the four-legged competitors, two months of hard work – and a fair few treats – ensured they were raring to get on the racetrack.
So when the big day rolled around, the only ones likely to get hot under the collar were any bystanders who spotted a Mini hurtling towards them with a dog at the wheel.
Two mutts made history yesterday by driving a car down a racetrack. Ten-month-old beardie cross Porter put his paws to the pedals first, steering the Mini down the straight and then turning a corner.
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 was able to drive the car and even turn corners around the track after eight weeks of training
HOW THEY DRIVE
The dogs drove 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.
He was followed by Monty, an 18-month-old giant schnauzer cross, who completed the same feat.
As the Mail reported last week, the pair – along with one-year-old beardie whippet cross Ginny – had been taking driving lessons, which began with them learning to steer a wooden cart pulled along on a string by their trainers.
In just eight weeks, they progressed to driving a real car – a modified Mini in which they sat on their haunches in the driver’s seat.
Their front paws were on the steering wheel, while their back paws were on levers attached to the accelerator and the brake.
Porter before his record breaking drive with the specially converted Mini he drove
The cars were modified with special gearsticks and pedals the canines could use
After successfully manoeuvring the car around a lab, the leading two were challenged to a racetrack test-drive which was broadcast live online.
They were strapped in with seatbelts and then followed commands from their trainers, who walked in front of the car.
The dogs were all rescued by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Auckland, New Zealand. The charity came up with the idea to train them to drive to prove how intelligent they were.
Animal trainer Mark Vette, who schooled the dogs, said: ‘They are great dogs, each with their own distinct personality.
Monty taking to the track in the specially modified mini
‘You wouldn’t believe any dog could learn to drive a car on its own but we’ve proven through our understanding of animal psychology and our specialised training methods that intelligent creatures can adapt to the situation they’re in.
'It really is remarkable and we are so proud of the achievements of our dedicated training team and the incredible SPCA driving dogs.’
Before the racetrack challenge, he explained that they treated the training like a ‘film shoot’, in reference to his work in the movies.
In just eight weeks, Porter progressed to driving a real car
Monty, who is 18 months old, in one of the specially built training cars
Ginnie, a one year old Beardie Whippet Cross, is the third driver in the group
He added: ‘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.
'They’ve all come through at this point and they’re all going really well.’
The charity behind the stunt now hopes that the public will be so impressed that they will be keen to adopt rescue dogs.
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 project was a collaboration between SPCA Auckland, Mr Vette, MINI New Zealand and advertising company DraftFCB.
The dogs were all rescued by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Auckland, New Zealand
The dog's paw will rest on the gearstick which has been moved to allow them to access it easily
The three drivers: Porter, Monty and Ginny
The controls of the mini the dogs will drive
Here's the link to the story: New Zealand dogs pass their driving test (and show they really CAN drive a car) | Mail Online
Here's the link to the facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/drivingdogs...06365926195124
Aaaand here's the youtube video and why I found out about this whole story: