An animal welfare group in New Zealand has trained three dogs to get behind the wheel in an attempt to show the public how intelligent they are.
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals will put them to the test in a live broadcast next Monday.
The dogs have been trained over eight weeks in specially made wooden carts which they have been driving around inside an indoor test lab.
They then graduated to a modified Mini in which they sat on their haunches in the driver’s seat with their paws on the steering wheel.
Their feet go on extension levers which had been attached to the accelerator and the brake whilst their paw will rest on the gearstick.
Mark Vette, the animal trainer who is schooling the dogs, said in a preview of the show that they treated the training like a “film shoot”, in reference to his work in the movies.
He said: “We train the dogs to do different actions, touch is the first thing and then we teach them to touch the different objects with the right paw and left paw.
“They’ve all come through at this point and they’re all going really well.”
The dogs that were chosen were Porter, a 10-month old Beardie Cross, Monty, an 18-month-old Schnauzer Cross, and Ginny, a one-year-old Beardie Whippet Cross.
All of them had been rescued by the SPCA.
The organization hopes that the public will be so impressed with the animals that they will adopt them and others like them.
SPCA Auckland Chief executive Christine Kalin said: “I think sometimes people think because they’re getting an animal that’s been abandoned that somehow it’s a second-class animal.
“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.”