Yes, you read the headline right. Three dogs have been trained to drive customised Mini Coopers in Auckland, New Zealand. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and Mini have joined forces to create awareness about dogs through this unique attempt.
SPCA has stated that it trained three dogs to drive cars to change misconceptions about shelter and rescue dogs. The three dogs - Monty, Porter and Ginny were trained by Mark Vette, an animal trainer from Animals on Q.
The Mini Countryman cars driven by the dogs have been modified to suit them. The dogs were trained for eight weeks. The trainers used mock controls to train the dogs on how to start the car, put the car in to gear, accelerate, apply brakes and steer.
The dogs are so well trained that they can independently drive through a closed circuit. Two of the dogs even drove on live television in New Zealand. Speaking about this unique event, SPCA, Aucklann CEO Christine Kalin said: " We hope that people will take the ‘driving dogs' message to heart and that SPCA dogs will be their first choice, not only because they are smart and intelligent, but because they have been abandoned and deserve a home."
The Mini Countryman driven by the dogs is powered by a 181bhp turbocharged 1.6-litre four pot engine. Mini New Zealand who actively participated in this project has said it was a unique experience personalising its cars for four legged drivers.