Teaching Dogs To Drive In New Zealand

New Zealand: Island nation of the Māori people, fabulous flightless birds including the legendary Moa and the Kiwi, exotic Dolphin, unique lizards, and dogs who drive automobiles. Wait! What? Please rewind. Did you say, “Dogs who drive automobiles?”

Yes, Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus, and, down under in New Zealand, well-meaning people really are teaching dogs how to drive a car. Enter the three chosen canines in the first class of talented four legged friends: Monty, Ginny, and Porter. Welcome to the wide world of unusual animals.

This unusual project is the brainchild of SPCA Auckland CEO Christine Kalin and famous animal trainer Mark Vette from Animals on Q. The real purpose is to show people how smart dogs really are and make them more desirable for adoption.

Ms. Kalin spoke about the difficulty in placing dogs from a shelter:

“I think sometimes people think because they’re getting an animal that’s been abandoned that somehow it’s a second-class animal. Driving a car actively demonstrates to potential rescue dog adopters that you can teach an old dog new tricks. The dogs have achieved amazing things in eight short weeks of training, which really shows with the right environment just how much potential all dogs from the SPCA have as family pets.”

The goal of the program is to train the three star pupils at Mr.Vette’s Animal on Q facility and then have them demonstrate their skills for a national television audience in New Zealand. Porter, a lively 10 month old puppy, will demonstrate his skills on Campbell Live next week at the the wheel of a Mini Countryman.

Trainer Vette spoke with pride about his talented trio of driving canines:

“Monty, Porter and Ginny are great dogs each with their own distinct personality. You wouldn’t believe any dog could learn to drive a car on its own and the way all three SPCA rescue dogs have taken to training really does prove that intelligent creatures adapt to the situation they’re in. It really is remarkable.”