We love to take car trips with Irie and Tiki—but, when we do, we’re always the ones doing the driving. A new humor book by Mike Haskins titled How to Teach Your Dog to Drive has us thinking, though. Tiki HAS shown an interest in getting behind the wheel. Could it be time for her move from canine to chauffeur?
Haskins, a comedy writer in the UK, has plenty of tips on how to help your dog pass a driving test, what to do if your dog keeps fogging up the windshield, and, of course, how to handle your dog’s urge to continually stick his head out the side window. I’m happy to say he’s a proponent of positive reinforcement training, advocating that, with each successful maneuver, you “tell him ‘Good boy!’ and pop a doggy biscuit in his mouth. Pretty soon he will get the idea of how to drive through traffic.”
But the details of how to teach your dog are just too complicated for an article so I’ll leave that to Haskins’ book. For me, the real question was WHY teach your dog to drive. After a read through Haskins’ new book and some searching around, it seems like there are plenty of good (dog-tongue-in-cheek!) reasons to hand over the car keys to a furry family member.
1. Dogs are less annoyed by other drivers than you are.
Haskins makes a really good point here. We all know that dogs are far more chill in most situations than we will ever be. Could road rage become a thing of the past if we had four-legged drivers?
2. Dogs need to have a job.
It’s the basic tenant of dog training, right? A dog needs to have a job to do or he’ll find something to do and that might not be something you’d chose for him. Why not give him a job that helps you, too? As Haskins explains, “Mental stimulation keeps them happy, healthy and well-balanced. And what more mental stimulation can you offer your dog than to get him to drive through town in the middle of rush hour?”
3. Dogs don’t mind waiting for us.
“I’m just going to run in the store for a minute.” We all know that’s just about impossible, right? With a restless spouse or two-legged significant other sitting in the car, we have to rush through our errand. Our canine chauffeur, though, will just call it nap time.
4. They’re always ready for a trip.
When I jingle my keys, Tiki and Irie are ready to jump in the car. No waiting for a human driver! Who needs Uber when there’s always a driver at the ready?
5. They’re alert.
We might get distracted by conversation, the radio, a sign on the side of the road. Dogs, however, are alert (just hope a squirrel doesn’t run across the street!)
6. They free us to take care of our business.
Texting, emailing, and making cell phone calls are no longer a problem thanks to our furry chauffeurs!
7. People are more forgiving of doggie drivers.
Sure, the other drivers might get irritated at YOU for not using a signal, but who can get mad at a Maltese whose driving is a little ruff around the edges?
8. Dogs like to learn new tasks.
Our dogs do like to learn new tricks, right? Haskins says, “With patience you can teach your dog to fetch a ball, to shake hands or to roll over. It will only take that little bit of extra patience to teach him how to drive a car.”
9. Dogs are happy to be a designated driver.
Your dog is always happy with plain water during a night on the town so you’ll always have your own Designated Doggie Driver to take you home safely from a night of clubbing or the next day after imbibing some “hair of the dog.”
10. Dogs are tenacious.
That dogged determination might be the number one reason to teach your dog to drive—and the explanation might be my favorite line in Haskins’ book: “They are very unlikely to stop and ask for directions. Being driven by a dog is therefore very similar to being driven by a man except for the fact that dogs have a better sense of direction.”
PS to Tiki: If you see this list, don’t get any ideas! We’re just joking.