It sounds straight from a movie: Dog handlers in New Zealand said they have trained dogs how to drive cars. After weeks of indoor training on how to change gears, brake and steer, canines Monty, Ginny and Porter have finally been allowed behind the wheel of a real car.
With a little help from their handlers, the dogs are able to put the car in gear, hit the accelerator and start driving. The dogs can even steer the cars when told.
Trainers said they created a series of instinctive behaviors for the dogs to learn.
“In this case, we’ve got 10 behaviors we’re all putting together,” said dog trainer Mark Vette. “So each behavior is a trained behavior, and then you put them into a sequence. So it’s a lot to do, and for the dog to actually start to get an idea of what actually is happening takes quite a long time.”
The dogs were trained by a local animal rescue charity.
After weeks of indoor training on simulators learning how to shift, brake and steer, three shelter dogs actually slipped behind the wheel of a Cooper Mini and hit the road.
Their trainers from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) used a series of instinctive behaviors to teach Monty, Ginny and Porter to operate the vehicle.
The dogs will receive two months of training with help from handlers, and then try their skills solo on a closed test track.