Trained New Zealand Adoption Dogs Pass Road Test
A trio of New Zealand dogs who had been trained to drive a car along a specially modified driving tract have successfully demonstrated their driving skill in a test that was televised nationally live.
The unusual training was all part of a promotional program organized to help show people how smart dogs are and encourage more people to adopt available dogs from local animal shelters.
A giant schnauzer by the name of Monty accomplished a world first when he was belted into a modified mini car and managed to maneuver the vehicle down the road in a straight line with no outside assistance.
“It’s all the dog doing it,” trainer Mark Vette said.
“He’s started the key, put the paw on the brake to allow it to go into gear, put it into drive, paw on the steering wheel, accelerator on, and off he goes down the track.”
Mr Vette, who has worked with animals on numerous film sets, admitted he had his doubts when the project was first mooted.
“I must say, this has been the toughest assignment we’ve had,” he said.
“We’ve done Lord of the Rings, [The Last] Samurai, many of the big movies but to actually get a dog in a car with no trainer and it does the whole gig itself, I tell you what, it’s been a real challenge.
“No one’s in the car, no tricks, it’s all Monty driving – he loves it.”
Vette worked diligently with them to teach them how to start the vehicle, how to brake in order to get the car into first gear and ultimately the drive position, and then keep paws on the steering wheel while the car was in forward motion.