Treibball is a fun competitive canine sport that originated in Germany. The sport is designed to give high-energy, active dogs the mental and physical stimulation they need to be happy, well-adjusted animals. In addition to the many benefits the sport offers our canine friends, Treibball is also good for pet owners – it’s a fantastic way to form a deep and abiding bond with your dog!
Who does it suit?
The activity is good for dogs of all ages and sizes. It’s especially suited to active working dogs and those with a strong natural herding drive. It can also help build confidence and aid reactive dogs with their impulse control. In fact, any dog that loves to play chase games, herd, or to use their intelligence and problem-solving skills will enjoy Treibball.
What is Treibball?
The game consists of “herding” a number of large inflatable exercise balls into a football-like net. It’s great for herding breeds, but it’s also for many of the prey-oriented sporting dogs and terriers. It’s awesome fun for any energetic dogs who work well off-leash and need a job, dogs who like to chase stuff, or dogs who like to herd and don’t have sheep!
How to Play Treibball?
Eight balls are placed in a triangle.
The goal is a regular football goal or similar – 8 feet high by 24 feet wide. Dog and handler have 15 minutes to drive all the balls into the goal. Timing starts when the handler signals the outrun (sending the dog out and around behind the balls) and stops when all the balls are in the goal and the dog is lying down in front of the handler. The dog must do an outrun beyond the balls, stop and pause, and wait for the handler’s cue before beginning to drive the balls. The dog may not bite or break the ball. The fastest team with the fewest error points wins.
What equipment is required for Treibball?
This is another thing that makes Treibball so accessible; the equipment is easy to find and relatively affordable. You use the same balls that humans use for exercising and stretching, those standard inflatable exercise balls (also called Swiss balls or Pilates balls) available at sports stores and department stores.
For Treibball, you want to use a ball that is at least shoulder height to your dog. Since these balls come in heights from 45 cm to 75 cm, if you are teaching Treibball to a tiny breed dog, you can start with a standard playground ball.
Where kind of space does Treibball require?
At the beginning you don’t need a large space; you can train in a small garden. If you live in a home without a garden, it’s possible to train indoors. A hallway, a living room or even the small space between the couch and the coffee table will suffice. The best scenario, however, is a park with a flat field near your home. In the beginning, you don’t even need a ball.
How many balls will I need?
As mentioned, you can start training without a ball. Some dogs are overly excited by a ball and have a hard time calming down and focusing on their owner/handler when a ball is involved. Those dogs can still learn the sport. First teach them the basics: how to orient to you, run away from you for a distance and push things. These simple skills can be taught without the use of a ball. As your dog progresses through the training stages, balls will be added into the exercises. When you reach the more advanced stages of the competition, your dog will push eight balls into a goal.