Car-Vid Classics: Driving Dogs

Damien O’Carroll
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We all know that dogs love cars. But how do they go driving them? As it turns out, rather well.

Back in 2012 the Mini NZ tasked its advertising agency, Draft FCB, to come up with a clever idea to promote the work the brand was doing with the SPCA. Someone jokingly suggested that it would be really funny to get a dog to drive a Mini, and a global viral sensation was born.

The agency contacted legendary animal psychologist and trainer Mark Vette to see if it could be done. Vette had no idea, but was keen to give it a go, so a trio of suitable dogs were selected from the SPCA's Mangere shelter and Monty, Porter and Ginny started on their driving lessons.

After a press release was sent out detailing Mini NZ and the SPCA's bold plan to teach dogs to drive, Tristram Clayton, a reporter for TV3s' Campbell Live show decided to take a closer look at it. After segments following the dogs' progress, an even bolder decision was made - the dogs would take the wheel live on John Campbell's show.

So after just 8 weeks of training and on live TV Monty drove a specially modified Mini Countryman (with special dog controls and a 30km/h speed limiter) in an admirably straight line down a track, while Porter was tasked with a more ambitious exercise: he would negotiate a 180 degree corner, with Clayton in the passenger's seat.

It didn't quite go according to plan, with Porter getting a bit distracted and heading off on a little off-road excursion, but he got there in the end.

And the world went mad for Monty and Porter who effortlessly achieved Mini and the SPCA's goal of proving that you didn't need an expensive purebred dog when a rescue dog was as smart as they were.


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