Driving dogs aren't a new advertising gimmick (Subaru's already been there and done that), but come Monday, a pooch from from SPCA Auckland will be making an ambitious attempt to drive a car, live on New Zealand television.
Over the past couple of months, animal trainer Mark Vette and his team at from Animals on Q have been hard at work teaching three SPCA dogs to drive a Mini Countryman to showcase just how intelligent SPCA rescue dogs are.
The project began when three SPCA rescue dogs, Monty, Porter and Ginny, were selected and rehoused at Animal on Q headquarters and began the doggy driver training process.
“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,” says Christine Kalin, SPCA Auckland chief executive.
“Ultimately the aim is that an SPCA rescue dog will become top of mind and top choice for people thinking of adopting a pet."
Commenting on the training, Vette said, “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.”
Porter, a 10-month-old Beardie Cross, makes his official test drive on Monday live on Campbell Live (a preview aired this week).
Simonne Mearns, Mini brand manager New Zealand, said the Mini Countryman in question had been modified to suit "operation by paws" and will be reverted and available for sale after the campaign.
Head to drivingdogs.co.nz to find out more about some of the dogs currently up for adoption and learn more about the trio of driving dogs.