The SPCA is hoping that putting three dogs behind the wheel of a MINI will drive adoptions.

Who says you can't teach old dogs new tricks? In a bid to raise public awareness, the New Zealand chapter of the SPCA has trained three shelter dogs how to drive a MINI Countryman Cooper S.

Devised as a new ad campaign to promote the adoption of rescue dogs, the SPCA selected three shelter dogs - Porter, Monty and Ginny - and started them on an eight-week driver's ed course. During that two-month span, the dogs learned all the basics of driving a MINI, including how to start the car, change gears, accelerate, steer and hit the brakes.

The dogs then put those skills to the test by tackling a small portion of a track, which included a sharp, right-hand turn.

"The bigger MINI Countryman was the perfect model for our drivers, four doors for four paws. After modifying it slightly Monty, Porter and Ginny were able to reach the pedals, move the gear stick and grip the steering wheel. MINI is renowned for personalizing vehicles, however, customizing the MINI Countryman for a furry, four-legged driver was an all-time first," said Simonne Mearns, Brand Manager of MINI NZ.

The SPCA has setup a dedicated Web site to follow the driving prowess (or is it pawess?) of Monty, Porter and Ginny, and the site also contains information about animal adoption.

The SPCA also cautions: "In the interest of everyone's safety, please don't try to teach your dog to drive."