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New Zealand: These dogs can drive cars (VIDEO)

It turns out you can teach an old dog new tricks.
Dogs drive cars 6 12 2012Enlarge
This dog is driving a car. No, really. (SPCA Auckland/Facebook)

Dogs. Can. Drive.

This astonishing, and vaguely terrifying, revelation is brought to us by an animal welfare charity in New Zealand, which has got at least three of its rescue pups ready to pass their driving tests. (N.B., they won't actually be taking tests. They are dogs.)

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in Auckland hopes the feat will demonstrate how intelligent dogs can be, even if they were abandoned by a previous owner.

"I think sometimes people think because they're getting an animal that's been abandoned that somehow it's a second-class animal," the charity's Christine Kalin told the New Zealand Herald.

"Driving a car actively demonstrates to potential rescue dog adopters that you can teach an old dog new tricks."

But enough of the why! How on earth did they get the animals to do it?

According to Kalin, the three learners — Porter, a 10-month-old beardie cross, Monty, an 18-month giant schnauzer, and Ginny, a 1-year-old whippet cross — have spent the past two months with specialist handlers in a "doggy driver training process."

In this BBC video, they can be seen learning the basics of how to operate a gear stick and turn a steering wheel in exchange for treats, graduating from pushing around props to driving indoor go-karts and eventually, their own specially adapted car.

They're usually accompanied by their (brave) human trainers, but next week Porter is due to take the wheel alone for the first time live on New Zealand's 3 News TV.

"We'll just have to sit back and hope they perform on the day," Kalin told the Herald.

Find out more about the road-ready pups at the SPCA Auckland's Facebook page. Here's a video of them in action.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/new-zealand-these-dogs-can-drive-cars-video