In New Zealand, Dogs Are Being Taught How To Drive Cars | Smart News | Smithsonian
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In New Zealand, Dogs Are Being Taught How To Drive Cars

Because people didn't think dogs were awesome enough

smithsonian.com

Image: Screenshot via the BBC

The BBC reports that the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals—New Zealand’s SPCA—thought that not enough people were adopting their adorable pups. They came up with the only obvious solution to such a quandary: they are teaching the dogs to drive, in a bid to convince potential adopters how awesome dogs are. Really.

The society’s Facebook page:

Every year, the SPCA need to find homes for hundreds of dogs like Porter – dogs who have been abused, abandoned, or just forgotten. They may be a motley bunch, but they’re all smart and they’re all lovable.

So please don’t write them off. Adopt them. If we can teach one to drive, we think you’ll do just fine.

by Rose Eveleth

The Clarion Ledger:

“No animal has ever driven a car before so what we’re going to do is we’re going to do a straight and we’re going to head off, so we’ll start the car, get into position, brake on, gear in place, back onto the steering wheel, accelerator, take off and hoon along the straight and then stop.”

To make the feat more feasible for the furry canines, the cars needed to be adapted so that the brake pedal was long enough that the dogs could reach it.

The dogs underwent five weeks of indoor training to encourage them to touch and move brakes, gear sticks and steering wheels, and received doggy treats as rewards along the way.

After seven weeks of training, the dogs were ready for a real car. In just four days time, the dog’s driving abilities will be on show on national TV, says the Ledger.

Quick, somebody get Clifford the Big Red Dog a Marauder—we’ve got work to do.

More from Smithsonian.com:
Dogs Chasing Their Tails Are Akin to Humans With OCD
Dog Paralysis Reversed With Cells From Pooch’s Nose

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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