Dogs are amazing. They can fetch, they can shake paws, they can shoot disapproving stares in your general direction, but they can’t drive on public roads. One Israeli man reportedly found this out the hard way after staging a video where his dog appeared to drive his car.
תיעוד: בן 35 מעין נקובא נעצר לאחר שנתן לכלבו לנהוג ברכב@VeredPelman
(תיעוד: דוברות המשטרה) pic.twitter.com/Cte8YlNxmh
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) September 5, 2022
In this setup, the dog is on the driver’s lap and has both paws on the wheel. While a driving dog is a cute idea, it’s a pretty bad idea to put anything between the driver and the steering wheel other than a seatbelt. Police in the Jerusalem area clearly didn’t share the driver’s sense of humor, and I can see why. Having space to let hands move freely is fairly important for making sure any avoidance maneuvers are smooth and successful, and that’s before even considering the impact on crash safety.
According to The Times Of Israel, the driver was arrested under suspicious of reckless driving, which uncovered further legal trouble. The driver’s vehicle allegedly wasn’t certified to be roadworthy. Admittedly, the Las Vegas strip of warning lights on the dashboard in the video doesn’t seem brilliant, so maybe there’s some validity to this claim of unfitness.
In any case, it’s a bad idea to make it look like your dog is driving your car. However, that doesn’t mean that dogs are incapable of driving. Back in 2012, a group of dogs in New Zealand were taught to drive a modified Mini Countryman along a closed course. ABC Australia reports that no trickery was involved whatsoever.
“It’s all the dog doing it,” trainer Mark Vette said.
“He’s started the key, put the paw on the brake to allow it to go into gear, put it into drive, paw on the steering wheel, accelerator on, and off he goes down the track.”
In case you don’t believe me, have a look at this absolutely adorable video featuring a bearded collie-cross named Porter.
Come on, doesn’t he look cool as hell? Sure, the Mini Countryman is only moving at walking pace and Porter is really just following his trainer’s lead, but here’s an actual dog driving an actual car.
While this is quite the feat, it’s worth noting that you probably shouldn’t teach your dog to drive your car, or even pretend to let your dog drive your car. Even if the SPCA in New Zealand taught dogs to drive cars, that was on a closed course and under the supervision of canine training professionals. Maybe keep the four-wheeled canine shenanigans to golf carts, power wheels cars and 1/5-scale RC monster trucks instead of trying anything on the street.
[Editor’s Note: You can’t write a story like this without a reference to this Far Side cartoon. Come on! – JT]
If you want to make it look like a dog is driving a car safely you’ve got to do like the Siberians at Garage 54 and build a whole separate steering wheel, gas pedal and brake pedal that work from the back seat. Disconnect the old controls, tint the back windows, figure out a harness or something for the dog and there you go.
With the pilot shortage, it won’t be long before they really do teach poodles how to fly.
Who is driving? Oh my god! Dog is driving! How can that BE?!
But in Israel they teach goldfish how to drive!
Man would I ever love to get one of those for my goldfish.
Our Westi loved sitting on the dashboard of our ’91 Previa van. Faced forward looking out the windshield. If it had been a RHD version with the dog on the left, it would have been hilarious!
Ran when barked!
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That dog is so cute 🙂
I like dogs driving more than I should 😐
With the left side seat removed from a Morris Minor “Khoda”, my very large Great Pyrenees, would sit looking out the windshield in the traditional American drivers position as I actually drove on the right side.
Probably still safer than FSD.
Well, that dog is more attentive and aware of the context than 95% of human drivers out there, so there’s that.
The dog didn’t confuse the gas for the brake and drive at full speed through the front door of a Winn Dixie, so it automatically beats about 1/4 of the drivers in Florida
Love the Far Side!
The recent number of comments that are really irritating ads perpetrated by on online marketing scum is intolerable. Please do something about it.
You just gotta make the car dog-sized…
That’s our pug Leeloo, back in 2015, “driving” a race car in the Oregon Humane Society’s “Pug Crawl.” I converted an old Power Wheels car to RC, disguised it to look kinda like a ’20s race car (slap-dash job, but it worked), and we trained Leeloo to sit in it while I drove. (That’s me walking along the sidelines with a transmitter.) She kept standing up, so my wife kept bribing her with cookies to sit down again. It worked, and we won first place in the parade.
That’s excellent, Mark, and great timing for me. I’m txting with a former work buddy who had to quit cause of some unknown health condition causing mini-seizures, and trying to help him stay positive. Thanks for vicariously giving me a bit more strength to lend to him.
Nice job on the ‘race car conversion’ there