Every so often, two of my interests collide. Sometimes, it’s finding out that a race car driver also likes one of my niche bands. Sometimes, it’s discovering the beautiful world of Animal Crossing crochet. Today, it’s discovering that people have actually taught dogs to drive.
I can’t take credit for this discovery, because apparently it had been an internet sensation almost a decade ago, and my stepdad recently sent a video along to me because I had no idea what he was referencing. And, my god, I’m in love.
Just. Stop whatever you’re doing. Stop and enjoy this video.
The video was created in partnership with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in New Zealand, in part to show that shelter dogs are delightful lil creatures that can still be trained, even though they might be older or have come from a background of neglect. In fact, these dogs can be trained above and beyond what you’d expect a dog could do.
Which is a silly stereotype to believe, since there’s a long history of shelter dogs being trained to star in movies, but hey. People stink.
These three dogs—Porter, Monty, and Ginny—were given an eight-week training period to learn how to drive, according to Forbes. Which is pretty impressive, considering it takes the average teenager a hell of a lot longer. But the dogs generally learned one skill at a time—shifting, for example, or braking—before applying it all at once. We generally ask kiddos to do all those tasks at the same time, which can make it far more stressful.
Admittedly, a trainer was directing the dogs from outside the car, but y’know what? That’s okay. They’re dogs. They’re doing their best. It took my dogs ages to learn to sit unprompted before I gave them a treat, even though I asked them to sit every time they got a treat. And the purpose of the video is less to legitimately teach a dog to drive a car than it is to show that dogs can be trained to take on a complicated series of actions. I’ll hear no slander in the comments.
Now excuse me while I attempt to teach Squish to become an iRacing pro instead of licking the couch cushions.