By Frances R. Catanio
They provide companionship, help law enforcement sniff out bombs and drugs, assist disabled people in their daily lives — so why not teach dogs to drive, too? At what appears to be the world's first driving school for canines, the New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has been training rescue dogs to operate vehicles.
The goal of the experiment is to demonstrate how intelligent dogs can be, says Bill Hayton at the BBC, in order to get more people to adopt orphaned pups. In the video above, Monty, a giant schnauzer mix who was given up by his owners six months ago, hops into a car, gets buckled in, and an instructor in the passenger seat monitors him as he navigates raised levers, repeating the letter "A" to Monty to get him to hit the accelerator. And they're off. Though Monty's owners gave him up because they said he was too difficult to control, "there's no sign of road rage here," says Hayton.