An animal adoption charity in New Zealand has successfully taught several dogs how to drive in order to demonstrates to potential rescue dog adopters how smart dogs are. This unusual project is the brainchild of SPCA Auckland CEO Christine Kalin and famous animal trainer Mark Vette from Animals on Q. The goal of the program is to train the three star pupils at Mr.Vette’s Animal on Q facility and then have them demonstrate their skills for a national television audience in New Zealand.
Astonishingly, it took three puppies just eight weeks to master the basics in wooden carts. 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 are attached to the accelerator and the brake while their paw rests on the gearstick.
Mark Vette, who is schooling the dogs, said: ‘"We train them 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".
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. 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.”
All of the dogs involved had been rescued by the SPCA. The organisation hopes the public will be so impressed that they will adopt them and others like them.
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