10 December 2012 - 14:00
Teaching dogs how to drive
Dogs: aides to the blind, helpful sniffers of exploding things and now, New Zealand animal experts are teaching them how to drive.
Three stray dogs have donned their L-plates and learned to operate a car at low speeds, able to steer, use an accelerator and brake.
Amazingly, it took just eight weeks for the stray pooches to get the hang of it. Beginning in wooden carts, and then graduating to a real life MINI, the dogs steer with their paws and operate the accelerator and brake using special extension levers attached to the pedals.
Although don't expect to see a Labrador driving for Ferrari in Formula One anytime soon. The dogs are only able to operate the cars at walking speeds, but not much faster, and only with close supervision. And treats.
Organised by New Zealand's Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), the stunt aims to show people just how smart stray pooches are, in an effort to get abandoned dogs out of pounds and into new homes.
The dogs 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.
And later this week, their newly-learned skills will be tested live on the internet in a real-life MINI. Check back to TopGear.com to see how the doggy heroes fare.
Until then, watch this...