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December 6 2012

WATCH: Dogs Learn to Drive in New Zealand

How long did it take you to pass your driving test? These dogs may have you beat — they learned how to drive a car in just eight weeks. The canine chauffeurs have been trained by a New Zealand charity in a bid to show just how intelligent rescue animals can be.

After careful training, three dogs from the Auckland SPCA — Monty, Ginny and Porter — have learned to work the gear shift, accelerator, brake and steering wheel. Working with specialized trainers, they rehearsed in a “practice vehicle” made of wood, responding to spoken commands such as ‘A’ for ‘accelerate.’ Then they moved on to a real car: the Mini Countryman. There are a few adjustments made for these doggie drivers — as the BBC video above shows, they are fitted with special pup-friendly seatbelts, and the controls are tweaked to accommodate furry paws. But otherwise, these hounds really are taking the wheel.

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