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How to Teach a Dog to Drive

Updated on November 19, 2012
Puppy Getting Ready to Go for a Drive
Puppy Getting Ready to Go for a Drive

Teaching a Pup to Drive

One of the great joys in the life of a dog owner is finally handing the keys over to your loyal friend. The first time you watch him back out of the driveway and give you a big tongue-dripping grin as he slides into first gear will be the moment you'll frame on your wall of memories. And as he crisply accelerates toward the freedom that all pets might well deserve, you will howl for your own wild spirit in knowing that you were able to teach your furry little buddy how to drive a car.

The primary challenge in preparing your four-legged friend for his four-wheeled lifestyle will be breaking him of the habit of chasing other cars. All pups are born with the instinct to follow. Early on you'll notice that it doesn't matter who or what is leading, as long as it is moving, your puppy will be attempting to follow. This habit *must* be corrected before you allow him behind the wheel of an automobile, otherwise it is very likely that your dog will follow other cars inappropriately. These actions often lead to civil action against your furry follower in the form of restraining orders and, in the worst cases, monetary damages for emotional suffering. Your dog will have his license revoked, his pride stripped, and his social standing ruined.

When you are satisfied that he can control his insatiable lust for all things in motion, it is time to put him behind the wheel and introduce him to the rules of the road. This is very important: you must at all times remember that he is a dog, not a human. As far as senses go, a dog's keenest sense is smell, followed by hearing and then, distantly, sight. You must teach him to see with his nose and to smell with his eyes. A dog uses a different balance of senses to safely navigate a car from point A to point B. Attempting to rely solely on visual acuity will leave your fledgling friend ill-prepared for the challenges of the road.

The Keenest of Dog Senses

Unfortunately for canine and human-kind alike, the streets are not lined with salami. Surprisingly, though, each geographic area has a distinct odor. Tests performed by advanced researchers have found that dogs can differentiate among virtually indistinguishable places merely by small variance in the amount or type of foliage. Imagine a vocabulary of smells. When we see a tree and some grass and a utility pole, we can describe those things using words. Dogs describe those things using smells. Unfortunately, that smell can't be reproduced, but it can be remembered. This gives dogs an extraordinary navigational tool built into their brains. Most dogs can even distinguish between the conceptual "left" and conceptual "right" (as long as they are in the northern hemisphere) because tree dander will swirl in a clockwise pattern (see Coriolis effect) causing certain smells to "drop out" to the right of the swirl and others to drop to the left. If you use olfactory devices in your automobile to help train your dog, it will be a very easy matter of aligning right with right and left with left once he has caught on, which will lead to fewer, "Oh bleep, puppy, you are driving on the wrong side of the highway" moments.

When you've properly wired your automobile with Google Dogs and Maps, the real training begins. If you remember way back, the first command your pup probably learned was "sit". And how did you get him to sit on command? Simply by stating the word "sit" at the exact moment he was in the process of sitting. The easy way to induce a "sit" action was to hold a treat over the dog's head and move it slowly backwards. Once he heard "sit" enough times with the actual process of sitting, no treat was necessary.

Google Dogs and Maps

For driving, there are 5 main commands he must learn: Accelerate, Brake, Turn Left, Turn Right, and Honk. Using Google Dogs and Maps (gDAM) along with the Rhinolfactory Training Module(RTM), you'll want to practice these maneuvers with your pup by playing the voice activated command for "Turn Left" at the exact moment the aerosol bacon sprays from the left side of the RTM improvised gDAM rig on the dashboard. Similarly, you'll want to practice each direction. gDAM recommends using goose poop aerosol for "Turn Right", stink-shoe for "Brake", cat pulp for "Accelerate", and stagnant pond water with midsummer algal bloom for "Brake". If your dog is a smart one, he'll catch on in no time. Before long gDAM won't even need to release the evocative smells that cause junior pooch to steer the car with his lunges toward the wild, wonderful aromas billowing from the device in front of him. No, he'll just be steering the car without the stink.

Now comes a word of warning: most pups will crash a few times before society would consider them "adequate" drivers. Because of the steep learning curve, it becomes a nightmare to insure them. Premiums are outrageous for dogs behind the wheel, so we recommend the following: Emancipate your pet before allowing him to drive. You will obviously still be his caretaker, bread-winner, and pooper-scooper, but, in the eyes of the law, you will no longer be legally responsible for his transgressions. If he does happen to cause some property damage with poor driving decisions (dogs hate to yield, for example), just present his emancipation papers to the inquiring legal entity and it'll be clear that pup is the only responsible party. And when the only responsible party's earthly possessions consist of what may be buried under the back porch, the "wronged" persons tend to sulk away without any legal paws to stand on. Of course, this isn't exactly ethical, but, if you are ketchup-on-eggs crazy enough to let your dog behind the wheel of a car, you probably don't have a rigorous set of principles anyway. In short, don't even bother insuring him. Though, one final word of caution: if you do choose to allow him to drive uninsured, you absolutely must teach him high-speed evasive driving techniques in order to outrun any law enforcement officers and or jealous husbands.

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