Everybody's got a story about how smart their dog is but nothing compares with the story out of New Zealand, where professionals who train rescue dogs have taught dogs to drive... just to prove a point.
The SPCA in Auckland thought it would be a good way to showcase how smart rescue dogs are and possibly improve their adoption rate too.
Animal trainer Mark Vette explains how they did it. At first, they started with lots of indoor training with a fake car, using clicker-reinforced targets to teach the dogs how to shift gears, use a brake and steer. Interestingly enough, the dogs are able to stay focused and free from distractions. (None of them showed any bad habits... like texting or talking on cell phones while driving.)
"When we chain behaviors together, in this case we've got 10 behaviors we're all putting together, 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," Vette said.
After five weeks of training, the dogs are able to start the car; drive a straight path; get into position, apply brakes, shift gears; go back onto the steering wheel, accelerator, take off and head along the straight and then stop," he said.
See for yourself!! Click on the video clip.
Dogs learn to drive