Have you ever wondered if a dog could fly a plane?
Well, if you’re like most people, the answer is, “Of course not!”
But ask that same question to a group of animal experts and trainers from the United Kingdom, the answer will be, “Dogs might fly.” In fact, those three words are the name of a new six-part TV series scheduled to air across the pond later this month, the Daily Express reports.
The show reportedly came to be after amateur fliers at a London airfield saw a dog pawing at some aircraft-style controls. From there, a search for the country’s smartest rescue dogs was launched. Twelve were selected to participate in the reality-style TV show.
A team of team of trainers and animal behavior experts are putting the dogs through myriad tests to look at their communication skills, empathy and memory, according to the Express. The best-performing dogs will then will be sent to flight school, where the most successful pup pilot-in-training will being chosen to fly a light aircraft. At the end of the show, all of the dogs will be placed in homes.
“We’re thrilled to embark on this exciting and ambitious project, bringing together the world’s top experts in dog cognition and training with some of the smartest canines from Britain’s rescue centres (sic),” Carole Hawkins, creative director of Oxford Scientific films, which is producing the TV series, told the Express. “Dogs have real value and proven ability, and this show will push our perspective to a new level.”
However, not everyone is in favor of the experiment.
“Given that we would not expect a human 3-year-old to be able to fly a plane, I would not expect that a dog could do so either,” Stanley Coren, professor of cane psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, told the Express.
Despite the critics, Hawkins said the dogs will be tested in a “safe and controlled way,” and above all else, the show’s goal is to illustrate that dogs have “distinct personalities and incredible levels of intelligence.”