Sometimes referred to as urban herding, Treibball (pronounced “try-ball”) combines herding and obedience, but instead of using live animals like sheep or ducks, participants “herd” balls – ranging from soccer-sized to giant Pilates balls – into goals.
Treibball is a great way for dogs and their people to have fun together, work on problem-solving skills, practice obedience, and form a stronger bond. It’s especially good for dogs that crave and enjoy activity and challenge.
Border Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs, Corgis and Australian Shepherds are among the breeds recognized as herding dogs but Treibball also appeals to many other breeds as well. Titles have even been won by a Papillon as well as a Cairn Terrier.
To learn the basics, take a Treibball class. Usually the classes begin indoors, where the dogs learn the skills that they’ll transfer outdoors. Obedience is a prerequisite because your dog must work off-leash in order to learn the sport.
Treibball training is all positive, with lots of rewards such as treats or a chance to play with a favourite toy. A basic Treibball class involves training your dog to go to a designated spot, to walk and wait, move left or right, stay at a distance, touch the ball with his nose or shoulder (no biting), push it in a straight direction into the goal, and to stand.
Graduating to competition
Although Treibball classes start with just one ball per dog, experienced canines work with as many as eight in preparation for competition. The handler stands near the goal and works with the dog to bring each of the balls to the goal in a specific order. Speed is also important — you and your dog have ten minutes to get all eight balls in the goal.
Treibball is great exercise for a dog’s mind and body, and is perfect for dogs who excel at obedience and love both herding and chasing.