1. ITV Report

Man's best friend learns to drive a car

Ginny the dog drives a car. Photo: TV3 New Zealand/ Reuters

A charity in New Zealand has taught three dogs how to drive a car, in an effort to show how intelligent man's best friend can be.

The campaign is part of a push by The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) to encourage more people to give rescued animals a home.

Three animals were selected by trainer Mark Vette in September; after five weeks their training progressed to driving a trolley indoors, before graduating to cars a few weeks ago.

Vette, who has previously trained birds, deer and rats, believed the dogs could be taught through a sequence of movement skills required to operate a gearstick, release brake and steer a car. He said:

No animal has ever driven a car before so what we're going to do is we're going to go straight [...] so we'll start the car, get into position, brake on, gear in place, back onto the steering wheel, accelerator, take off and hoon (drive fast) along the straight and then stop.

One of the three dogs who completed the training to drive. Credit: TV3 New Zealand/ Reuters

Following commands and directions from their trainers to accelerate, brake, steer and change gear, the dogs were filmed driving the modified car at an off-road track in Auckland.

Next week the dog's abilities will be tested live on television in New Zealand.