NZ Driving standards going to the dogs

If you were watching Campbell Live this week you may have seen the story of how the SPCA, along with expert animal trainer Mark Vette, are teaching three dogs how to drive a car. Watch the full episode here.

It’s all part of a campaign to highlight the intelligence of rescue dogs in a push to convince potential dog owners that rescue dogs are as intelligent as any other dog, which, according to SPCA CEO Christine Kalin, is a misconception that they often have to deal with.

The three dogs chosen to perform the seemingly impossible are Monty, a giant Schnauzer, Ginny, a Whippet cross, and Porter, a Beardy cross. They have been taking lessons from a group of expert animal trainers headed by Mark Vette who, amongst many others, trained the Genesis Energy Pukekos. For eight weeks the dogs have been trained to start, engage drive, accelerate, steer and stop a new Mini Countryman – tasks that many of New Zealand’s human drivers struggle with.

As you’ll see in the video, all three dogs are doing amazingly well and it shows that with good direction, a few treats and lots of encouragement, how dogs love to learn, complete tasks and please us humans. I suspect a few human resource departments are taking note of this story.

D-day is on Monday when Campbell Live will broadcast the first ever live pictures of a dog driving a car when Porter takes journalist Tristram Clayton for a hoon around a track. You’ll all be queuing for a rescue dog on Tuesday morning – great companions and useful as designated drivers now too.

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