What is Treibball?
Treibball, also called Urban Herding, is a rapidly growing new dog sport. You and your dog want to do some herding, but don’t have any livestock available? How about herding balls instead of sheep! Does your dog need a job? Are you looking for something really fun to do with your dog that builds teamwork? Treibball might be just what you are looking for!
Can My Dog Do It?
Any fairly active dog can do Treibball. Small dogs, big dogs, herding breeds and non-herding breeds, mixes–really any type of dog. It is an especially good job for high energy dogs who love to chase things, but more sedate types also learn to love it.
The dog pushes a ball with his nose, head, chest or shoulders. Just teaching your dog to push a ball and run with it is great fun for your dog and good exercise. To do it as a sport adds many other advantages, not the least of
which is strengthening your communication skills, teamwork and relationship with your dog.
Treibball As A Sport–What Does That Look Like?
The dog “herds” or pushes exercise balls across a field and into a goal. There are 8 balls placed in a triangle, similar to racked billiard balls. The handler remains in the goal area and sends the dog out behind the balls. At the handler’s signal, the dog pushes a ball toward the handler and into the goal, runs back for another ball and continues until all 8 balls have been herded into the goal.
Will I Be Able To Compete In Treibball?
Even if you have no wish to compete in Treibball it is great fun and a wonderful way to build many skills with your dog. But having a goal of competing makes it more fun for many. You can compete in person with your dog, or if you don’t live close to a competition there are virtual competitions with video submissions.
There are several organizations which sponsor treibball competitions with similar but not identical rules.
The different levels of competition are based on skill level. Lower levels allow the dog to bring the balls to the goal in any order, while the advanced levels require the dog to bring them in a specific order. Think of the communication this entails! Let’s break this into the many things you and your dog will learn if you choose to do treibball.
What Will My Dog And I Learn?
Useful skills! The things you need for Treibball will pay off in many ways and you will find very useful in your everyday life with your dog.
In Treibball, you send your dog out away from you to a spot behind the balls. So one skill is teaching your dog to go to a mat or marker. Waiting at the marker until you release him will teach you dog a strong “stay”.
You direct the dog which way he is to run–right, left, clockwise or counterclockwise.
At your signal, the dog starts pushing a ball toward you in the goal area. This is several skills. Orienting to you to be able to bring the ball to you, not just push it helter-skelter. It also means being able to push a ball while controlling where it goes.
For many dogs learning impulse control is probably the most valuable lesson of all. Self control when things get exciting is really hard for many dogs. Think how much more pleasant life would be if your jazzed up, high energy dog learned how to settle and keep his behavior appropriate. Treibball training will help him with this–it is like installing an on and off switch. He will learn to work with you as a partner rather than running around in a frenzy.
The Foundation Skills–Or Before The Ball
There are several skills you will want to teach your dog before he starts pushing the ball around. For many dogs, learning self-control around balls is the hardest! If you place a couple inflatable exercise balls in the training area, can your dog work around them calmly without trying to steal them and start pushing them wildly?
Another very basic skill is to orient to your front–if your dog is standing facing you, and you pivot, does he move to stay facing front? This is necessary as you want the dog to bring the ball toward you in the goal, not run with it in a different direction. This is usually fairly easy to teach a dog, and there are many YouTube videos showing different exercises to perfect it.
The Outrun–Go Behind The Ball
At the beginning of your run, and each time after your dog has brought you a ball, he runs out behind the balls again to bring you another one. So the dog needs to learn to go to a mat or marker and stay there until you ask him to
move. Think of the many ways you can use this skill other than triebball! Does your dog go wild when someone comes to the door? Going to a mat or “place” and waiting there helps change this behavior!
You also will teach your dog to go the direction you want, so you can set him up to bring the correct ball. This sounds hard, but actually is usually fairly easy to teach. And it is fun to be able to communicate with your dog at that level. If you do or plan on doing agility or freestyle, this skill will be very useful.
I also use it to direct my dog to find his ball. If I’m in the yard and I want him to go in the house and bring me a toy, I can do it using the “go out” he learned from going to his mat, and directionals telling him where I want him to go. If I direct him to the door and tell him “go out” he will go into the house, find the correct toy, and bring it to me! I always get a kick out of it!
Push The Ball–The Most Fun Of All!
Teaching your dog to push the ball effectively is fun, and the part most dogs really seem to love. Along with pushing
the ball, your dog learns to control it and to bring it to you reliably. As you work on these skills, you are also working on that all important impulse control. This is such a great sport to build self-control as each exercise to build skill also increases the teamwork between you and your dog.
Getting Help To Train You And Your Dog
If you can find a trainer near you with Treibball classes–great! If you can’t, there are still many learning options.
The National Association of Treibball Enthusiasts (NATE) has some information on their site, as does the American Treibball Association.
YouTube has many videos with tutorials on the different skills needed for Treibball.
There are also a couple books out that will help understand how to train Treibball.
Give Treibball A Try–Your Dog Will Thank You!
If you are looking to build great communication with your dog, develop teamwork, and give your pup an outlet for his energy with both physical and mental exercise, Treibball might be just what you are looking for! If you have tried Treibball, leave a comment telling us how you and your dog liked it. If you have any questions, leave them also. Or you can contact me directly at Keith@goodtimesdogtraining.com.