The Straits Times
www.straitstimes.com
Published on Dec 07, 2012
 
PICTURES

Motor mutts! Dogs learn to drive in New Zealand

 
 

WELLINGTON (AFP) - Rather than chasing cars, dogs in New Zealand are being taught to drive them - steering, pedals and all - in a heartwarming project aimed at increasing pet adoptions from animal shelters.

Animal trainer Mark Vette has spent two months training three cross-breed rescue dogs from the Auckland SPCA to drive a modified Mini as a way of proving that even unwanted canines can be taught to perform complex tasks.

The motorised mutts - Porter, Monty and Ginny - sit in the driver's seat, belted in with a safety harness, using their paws to operate specially designed dashboard-height pedals for the accelerator and brakes at Vette's command.

The car's steering wheel has been fitted with handles, allowing the dogs to turn it, while the "starter key" is a dashboard-mounted button that the dogs press to get the motor running.