Ava’s First Year in Review

Ava, Snowbowl’s very own Avalanche dog, turns one on Sunday December 3rd! Turning one year old is a big mile marker in the training of an avalanche dog. The first year of training is primarily focused on laying the foundation for searching.

Ava spent the summer with her handler Hailey, living in Colorado and traveling all over the west. Ava joined Hailey on river, backpacking, and camping trips, as well as many hikes. In addition to enjoying her active life, Ava did plenty of dryland search drills and obedience sessions to prepare her for work as an Avy dog.

Hailey kept all of Ava’s trainings short and positive to help build her drive to search. The game of “hide and seek” is Ava’s favorite thing to do. This game trains Ava to search for human scent and when she finds a subject, she is rewarded with an exciting session of “tug of war.” These games train Ava to associate searching with high value praise and play. A dog’s main goals in life are to be happy and have fun, which is how they are trained to harness their incredible scenting ability.

As Ava is turning one and entering her second season as an Avy dog, she will take all of the fundamental skills and apply them to snow. Training for Ava will be increasingly challenging and complex to prepare for her Avalanche Dog certification test. Ava will work with the ski patrol most days this winter.

It may be hard to resist saying “happy birthday” to Ava on the slopes, but please remember she is a working dog and training to save lives. Always ask permission to pet her and respect her space when training!

Keep checking the #whereisAva hashtag on social media to get updates on Ava’s whereabouts this winter!