Driving School For Dogs?
Driving School For Dogs?
Driving is no doubt a difficult task that requires a great level of skill and attentiveness. That being said, could man's best friend be taught to drive? In a recent article published by BBC news the subject is breached in depth. In New Zealand a school or our furry friends has been set up to teach dogs how to drive. This is not in order to allow dogs to get licenses and drive on the road, but rather to prove to people that animals are far smarter than we give them credit for. This driving school for dogs is certainly intriguing.
These dogs are not simply set free with a standard issue car to drive about how they please, they are instead taught through a series of different stages how to control a steering wheel. The dogs, namely Monty the giant schnauzer, and others are taught in stages. First, they are given basic skills that allow them to use a steering wheel or similar item. Motorized chairs are first used within a safe environment to give the dogs a sense of what they are in for when they finally do get into a car.
The chair is meant to simulate what they will be doing when they are finally put into the car without first putting them into a vehicle where they can hurt themselves or others. The chairs are outfitted with a steering wheel that has been specially designed so that they can use it and the chair only goes a certain speed to insure that they learn rather than just mash on the gas to go.
The training begins with a wooden cart that is pulled by their trainers before they are ever put into the motorized chairs as a way of teaching them how to steer. Trainers encourage certain behaviors and acts and discourage others which helps these dogs learn how to properly and safely steer their carts. After the dogs have mastered the cart they are put into the chair so they can begin to learn the steering and other elements of driving.
After about 8 or 9 weeks of training they are ready to try their paw at driving a car. Fittingly, the cars they drive are mini coops which match their mini stature. These dogs are extremely intelligent and are able to take curves, slow down, speed up, and basically drive their cars as a novice driver would if they were human. The experiment is meant to show humans that these animals, though they may not be as smart as a person, are far more intelligent than we give them credit for. With simple training and behavioral activities these stray dogs have been taught how to drive a car.
They may not be able to handle the hustle and bustle of down town traffic or even the express way but they can certainly run the track with the best of them. Their trainers say they will continue to teach them more advanced tasks to see just what they are capable of learning and how much they can comprehend.