Treibball Training for Dogs – The Exciting New Dog Sport from Europe
This new canine sport is one of the latest to enter the dog training scene. Jan Nikboer, a Dutch dog trainer developed the competitive event based on his observation of herding dogs that would push around water bowls. Thinking that they might also push around exercise balls in the same way, he introduced the concept as part of his herding training program. The game quickly spread to a number of northern European countries. In 2007, Treibball training for dogs became official with its first event held in Sweden that year.
The most unique aspect of the game is the wide appeal to almost any type of dog, no matter what its age, breed or size. Even dogs and owners with disabilities can thrive on the low impact aspects of Treiball. Also known as “push ball” or “drive ball”, the object of the game is to “herd” eight inflatable balls that look like the ones used in Pilates or known as “swiss balls” into a soccer-like net measuring 8 feet high and 24 feet wide. The balls are placed in the formation of a triangle on a field between 100 and 164 feet long and 50 to 82 feet wide. The dog and handler team has only 15 minutes to drive all eight balls successfully into the goal. Dogs that participate are required to have obedience, off leash, and some basic herding skills, such as stop/pause, waiting for handler cues and outrunning in front of the balls.
The basic rules of Treibball begin with the sound of a whistle after which the dog must follow the handler’s direction to the “point ball” which goes into the net first, followed by balls chosen by the handler to be herded into the net in the exact order. Once all balls are “corralled”, the dog must lay down in front of the goal to signal that “all sheep are in the pen!” Points are won or lost in each round of the game. Disqualifications include yelling at the dog or if the dog bites the ball.
The advantages of Treibball training for dogs go beyond the obvious great fun of the activity. Most importantly, is the appeal to a wide variety of people and dogs to include even participants that have disabilities. Shy dogs benefit from the confidence that the sport builds along with better bonding between the owner and his/her dog. Energetic dogs get an enjoyable outlet for their drive and owners can get an equally enjoyable benefit of the competitive spirit from Treibball events.
Training a dog and handler for Treibball skills and events is a rewarding activity and there are a number of ways to conduct Treibball training for dogs to gain the best results. The important thing to remember is that it should be fun and the training method should be comfortable for both dog and handler. Reward based training is always the best method combined with a willingness to be patient and creative in the process. Typically, it takes a month or so for the dog to learn the skills involved but beware, once your team succeeds in getting down the basics and have a few competitions under your belt, Treibball can be so enjoyable that it may become addictive.
Our School for Dog Trainers teaches students a number of dog sports and other dog specialties as part of our 12-week Canine Training and Behavior Modification Professionals Course. If you are interested in dog sports, such as Treibball, or training dogs as a career, please contact us at 866.200.2207 or firstname.lastname@example.org.