Ninja, is an 11-week-old German short hair pointer, lab mix, born June 4, 2011 in Utah. Deer Valley Snow Safety Supervisor Sue Anderson is Ninja’s owner and handler.
When Ninja isn’t hiking the trails at Deer Valley or riding chairlifts he loves walks, chewing on shoelaces and squeaky toys. Ninja has already learned his name, the commands sit and come and loves tug-o-war. Tugging is an important part of his training; Sue will use his love of the game to teach him to dig for buried skiers.
Deer Valley’s other avalanche dogs have the task of mentoring Ninja and showing him it’s ok to be around horses, noisy machinery, bikes and skis and guests. Quick to fit in, Ninja followed Lila, Izzy and Piper through a 60 foot culvert pipe with no fear earlier in the week and also kept pace with the big dogs while swimming and hiking in the nearby Uinta Mountains.
Sue’s biggest training goal this summer is to socialize Ninja and ensure he isn’t afraid of anything he may encounter on the mountain. He’s quickly mastering everything Sue throws his way and has taken a liking to Lila.
This winter Ninja will start learning to only follow commands from Sue and his second handler; a necessary skill to ensure when skiers or bikers call to him while on the mountain they do not distract him from his task or risk him getting hurt.
Watch for more updates this winter of Ninja in training. If you see him on the mountain make sure to ask permission from a trainer before petting or playing with him.