Doggie Driving

Three dogs have been successfully trained to drive cars at the Auckland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), in New Zealand.

The dogs can drive a Mini Cooper which has been modified with handles on the steering wheel, as well as accelerator and brake pedals at dashboard height. The car’s speed is restricted to a walking pace, for safety.

The purpose of the seemingly far-fetched campaign was to reconstruct people’s perceptions of shelter dogs. It is hoped that by raising awareness about animals needing a home and by casting them in a positive light; pet adoptions from animal shelters will increase.

The doggie drivers, Monty, Porter and Ginny are all mixed breeds and residents at the Auckland shelter. The pooches have been driving on an off-road raceway track and shelter staff have the capacity to stop the car remotely, if necessary.

It took eight weeks to train the three dogs, as they first learnt basic driving skills in a purpose-made wooden cart – similar to a mobility scooter.

Fortunately, the shelter’s unconventional marketing efforts have definitely paid off. The stunt has quickly become an internet sensation. Videos of the performances on You Tube have reached over 700,000 views and have made international headlines, tweets and even featured on talk shows in the USA.

The accomplishments of these dogs are sure to continue bringing much needed exposure to shelter dogs.

Monty, a giant schnauzer-cross can start the key, put the car into gear, keep his paws on the steering wheel while accelerating and brake. In a world first, Monty drove solo down the race track straight, live on New Zealand television.

Porter, a bearded collie-cross has mastered another maneuver - steering the car around the race track bend.

These dogs are certainly very intelligent but the shelter staff is adamant they are no more special than any of the other dogs at the SPCA.

At we love all animals and agree every pet deserves a loving home. We wish these doggie drivers all the best.

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