AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Many dog owners think their best pal is smart.

Question is, are they smart enough to drive a car?

Trainers in Auckland, New Zealand think so and they're out to prove it. After weeks of indoor training on simulators learning how to shift, brake and steer, three shelter dogs actually slipped behind the wheel of a Cooper Mini and hit the road.

Their trainers from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA)used a series of instinctive behaviors to teach Monty, Ginny and Porter to operate the vehicle.

"In this case we've got ten behaviors we're all putting together, so each behavior is a trained behavior, and then you put them into a sequence," explained trainer Mark Vette. "So it's a lot to do, and for the dog to actually start to get an idea of what actually is happening takes quite a long time."

The dogs will recieve two months of training with help from handlers, and then try their skills solo on a closed test track.