Treibball: The Newest Canine Sport

by Nancy Boland

Best known in Germany, Treibball is the newest canine organised sport to gain popularity around the world. Treibball is a great way to exercise your dog and really get them exercising their bodies and their mind. Any breed can try treibball, and it is an excellent way to forge a stronger bond with your dog and really get them working and communicating with you.

What equipment do you need?

All the game requires is a goal net such as you would use for football, and a range of large inflatable exercise balls of the type you can find in most sports shops.
The competitive sport of treibball involves eight exercise balls of a uniform size, but none of that is needed when you’re first trying it out with your dog.

How do you play?

The game of treibball involves using remote commands with your dog to assist them to “herd” the exercise balls into the finish net, something that can really get your dog engaged. For beginners start off with a couple of balls and work your way up if you’re dog enjoys the game. It may sound simple, but the more exercise balls involved the more your dog has to herd and react quickly on the spot.

What type of dogs might enjoy treibball?

The sport was originally designed to appeal to working herding dog breeds, such as the Border Collie, Lancashire Heeler, Welsh Corgis, but like with other canine sports, dogs of any age, breed and type can try treibbal and all have the potential to enjoy it. If your dog has limitless energy, reasonable brains and loves to play with balls then they are likely to enjoy treibball.

How treibball works competitively

In organised competition, treibball is a structured and timed event with guidelines and rules that must be followed. Competition uses eight balls of 45-75cm diameter, set up in a triangular formation, which the dog must herd into the goals within a set period of time, usually about 15 minutes.

The handler is only allowed to use whistles, verbal commands or hand signals to guide and direct the dog, directing them to put one ball at a time into the goals. Scoring is based on the communication, skill and cooperation between the dog and the handler.

Treibball groups and clubs

While treibball has yet to catch on in a big way within the UK, it is fast proving to be a firm favourite among herding dog breed clubs, agility groups and dog trainers. There are a range of treibball groups and websites dedicated to the sport within the UK, including a British Treibball Club Facebook group and many small, local organisations.
The  sport is currently unregulated and not played competitively in affiliated competitions within the UK soyou could always consider setting up a group or club of your own once you have mastered the basic skills with your dog, or simply just enjoy playing in the back garden!

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