ONTD Political

NZ teaches shelter dogs to drive

1:10 pm - 12/05/2012

A New Zealand animal welfare group eager to prove the intelligence of shelter dogs has spent eight weeks teaching three of them how to drive.

Three mixed breed dogs were chosen by the Auckland SPCA from a group of seven and given daily training exercises to familiarise themselves with the mechanics of driving.

After just eight weeks Porter, Monty and Ginny were put behind the wheels of an adapted Mini Cooper and took to putting it into gear, accelerating and steering.

"They don't have a license, so that poses some challenges, so it's a very controlled environment," Auckland SPCA CEO Christine Kalin told ninemsn.

"It's an off-road raceway track and at all times we have a remote capacity to stop the car should we need to."

Previously the dogs have been driving with the help of an assistant inside the car, but next Monday night they will be driving solo on live New Zealand television.

"They will hop in, start the car, put it into gear, use the accelerator," Ms Kalin said.

"As much as the dogs on the night might want to open it up and give it a run they will have speed constraints."

Ms Kalin described the three pooches as "highly adoptable", but said the SPCA would look carefully through requests to ensure they ended up in the best possible homes.

"They are very intelligent, but they aren't any more special than any of the other SPCA dogs," she said.

"Our dream would be throughout our major cities and across Australasia will be people will be proud of owning a rescue dog."

Video at the Source
natyanayaki 6th-Dec-2012 05:10 am (UTC)
rainbow_fish 6th-Dec-2012 05:10 am (UTC)
I mean, you can train dogs to do a lot of things, but I'd be curious to know if they're aware that they're manipulating their environment. Because my dog locks my car doors, rolls the windows up/down all the damn time, and he's always confused as hale about what is happening.

That being said, this is AWESOME and hilarious and wonderful and adorable and yes plz to all the feelings.
thesilverymoon 6th-Dec-2012 05:16 am (UTC)
Right? My dog opens doors and cabinets and then looks at them like she just did magic.
crunk_cubed 6th-Dec-2012 05:14 am (UTC)
Next step: training my cats to be designated drivers.
mercystars 6th-Dec-2012 05:49 am (UTC)
cyranothe2nd 6th-Dec-2012 05:15 am (UTC)
ahria 6th-Dec-2012 05:19 am (UTC)
Does anyone else want an actual video of this? I know I do.
one_hoopy_frood 6th-Dec-2012 05:28 am (UTC)
At the source!
lisasimpsonfan 6th-Dec-2012 05:26 am (UTC)
Oh your silly Kiwis. We already have a driving cat. Do we really need driving dog?

seasight 6th-Dec-2012 05:45 am (UTC)
caketime 7th-Dec-2012 09:44 pm (UTC)
Best usage of this .gif I've ever seen! :D
moonbladem 6th-Dec-2012 05:49 am (UTC)
This is so awesome. I saw it on CNN and was grinning the whole time.
hotcement 6th-Dec-2012 05:51 am (UTC)
but... why? just to show what capable animals dogs are?
romp 6th-Dec-2012 06:18 am (UTC)
I believe so. The point seems to be to show how intelligent rescue dogs can be. For people who think there's a stigma with mutts maybe? IDK, I thought it was generally accepted that mutts tend to be smarter, healthier, and less neurotic.
romp 6th-Dec-2012 06:30 am (UTC)
Great photo! I know the argument for dog breeders but it does seem decadent and wasteful to create dogs when there are already too many. And the best dogs I've known have been mutts or breeds that aren't crazy restrictive (McNab and Catahoula).
natyanayaki 6th-Dec-2012 07:19 am (UTC)
it does seem decadent and wasteful to create dogs

I see that argument a lot, and while I'm very pro-rescuing, I almost feel that that argument goes too far. It's such a personal decision, it's like saying "don't procreate when there are so many adoptable orphans who can use a home." With regards to "purebreds" it really depends on the practices/ethics of the breeder. I've known extremely well-mannered, healthy mixed-breeds and purebreds. I've also known extremely neurotic, unhealthy mixed-breeds and purebreds. It just depends.
hey_mayonegg 6th-Dec-2012 07:02 am (UTC)

tallycola 6th-Dec-2012 07:31 am (UTC)
My mind is blown!
cuterabbit33 6th-Dec-2012 12:05 pm (UTC)
You damned fools! You're helping them take over the world! First, they conquer cars... then, the world!

I kid, of course. This is beyond amazing :D
mingemonster 6th-Dec-2012 01:56 pm (UTC)
I'm sure the article will explain things, but the image in my head is too good to ruin
romp 6th-Dec-2012 04:36 pm (UTC)
clevermanka 6th-Dec-2012 02:36 pm (UTC)
I feel like this needs the "Not the Onion" tag.
kahluaandcream 6th-Dec-2012 03:09 pm (UTC)
I went looking for it the second I saw this aarticle, honestly.
kahluaandcream 6th-Dec-2012 03:01 pm (UTC)
I think the cuteness of that picture might be causing me physical pain. Dawwwwwwwwwwww.

I have two dogs - a Westie and a Scottie. The Westie we bought, the Scottie we rescued. They are both just as healthy, smart and lovable as the other. I would never trust either of them to drive though. Well, maybe in tandem - one can work the pedals, one can steer.
ultraelectric 6th-Dec-2012 03:55 pm (UTC)
Awesome, now if I get drunk my dog can drive me home safely. ;)

It's amazing how people don't want to rescue/adopt dogs (or other animals). They are so smart and need good homes. Both of my dogs are adopted, I adopted one as a puppy almost 2 years ago and than earlier this year I adopted a 6 year old Rotti/German Shepard. Both are very smart, but very stubborn. lol
romp 6th-Dec-2012 04:42 pm (UTC)
I seriously wanted a less-smart dog the last couple times we got dogs. Terriers are too smart and too determined for me...and that wiring where they have to chase and attack pisses me off (I know some are less that way than others). So we got a JRT, ugh.
the_physicist 6th-Dec-2012 04:49 pm (UTC)

i really like well-trained dogs. the idea that rescue dogs were abandoned because they are untrainable monsters needs to die, because in the majority of cases, the problem was the owner not (for whatever reason) being able to train the dog.
rex_dart 6th-Dec-2012 10:28 pm (UTC)
Ugh, yeah. I don't expect everyone to be able to train every dog at all. My partner and I had to bring a dog we fostered back to the shelter because he had anxiety and separation issues we simply didn't have the ability to help him with (we travel very often and have no daily routine). So we wrote out extensive notes on what his problems were and what he needed, and he went to doggie "rehab" at a trainer's home and was adopted by a professional dog walker after that.

I think people need to be more educated about what types of dogs might work for them, and more shelters and breeders need to be extra vigilant about making sure that potential owners are right for the dogs. I'm sure that people would be less inclined to think that some dogs are simply ~untrainable~ if they were more aware that not every person will be in a position to train every dog and not every dog will do well with every lifestyle.
redstar826 7th-Dec-2012 01:43 am (UTC)
I'm sure a well trained dog could probably do better than some of the geniuses I encounter on I-75 every day.
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