Are you looking for a new game to enjoy with your dog? Maybe you and Rufus are each growing bored of playing fetch? There’s some good news for you both! There’s a new game that is growing in popularity that both you and your dog will enjoy. It’s called treibball, a modern sport that requires a human handler and dog participant that became a sanctioned sport in 2008.
To give you the lowdown on Treibball so that you and your pup can take to the park and try it out for yourself, this post will provide an overview of the game and how handlers train their dogs to play treibball.
What is Treibball
Treibball is a sport that originated in Germany as a way to teach herding dogs the techniques needed to herd livestock. The game requires an open space to play, and is usually done outdoors in a public park or on a soccer field. The game features eight large-sized balls that are set in a triangle formation and a netted goal that is similar to a soccer net. The size of the balls varies based on the size of the dog playing Treibball. The bigger the dog, the bigger the ball. The goal of the game is to get your dog to maneuver all eight of the game’s balls into soccer goal in less than 15 minutes.
Treibball requires a collaborative effort between the handler and the dog, making it an excellent activity for a dog and dog owner to enjoy together. Part of the fun of the activity is the journey you’ll go through training your dog how to play, and then working with them to improve their ability at the game.
Training Your Dog to Play Treibball
Pet owners can train their dog to play treibball both for recreational purposes or for competition. Most dog owners will train their dog to simply drive the ball, in a fetch-like fashion. However, if your goal is to train and eventually compete in treibball events with your dog, you will probably need to consult a certified treibball trainer or grab yourself a training guide book to learn more of the nuances of the game. For this article, we’re just going to review the basics of how a handler trains a dog to play treibball.
The expression ‘learn to walk before you learn to run’ certainly applies to training a dog to play treibball, as training starts without balls. To eventually be able to drive the balls into the net, a dog will need to follow voice commands that their handler gives them. If the dog already knows how to sit, stay, and come on voice command, the handler and dog are in good shape. If not, the handler would first have to work on voice command training for their dog.
Using a backyard or a public park with plenty of open grass, the first step in training is for a handler to place a mat or blanket down and work with their dog to get them to run to the spot, sit at the spot, and then return to them using voice commands. Then, the handler will need to train the dog to sit at the spot, and run towards another area that is opposite from where the handler is. That location will serve as the net down the line. Handlers use specific voice commands to train the dog which area to run towards. With positive reinforcement and patience, a handler will eventually have their dog trained to respond to each unique voice command. Once they do, it’s time to introduce the ball.
To train the dog to drive the ball towards the net, a handler usually will use clicker training. To start, the handler will stand on one side of the ball and place their dog on the opposite side. The dog uses their nose to drive the ball. To train the dog to do so, the handler will use treats and clicker training techniques to get the dog to target the ball in a way that allow for easier driving. Once the dog pushes the ball against their handler, they get a treat, and the handler slowly moves back and repeats the step. Over time, and plenty of Scooby Snacks, the handler and the dog can be a good distance apart and the dog can push the ball to their owner.
From there, the handler can train the dog to drive the ball until it goes into the net. Using the voice command training techniques learned earlier in the process, the handler is able to instruct the dog to go back to the balls, and start driving another ball towards the goal. Just like that, the handler and dog are playing treibball.
Learn More About Your Dog at PetPlace
Not all breeds or ages of dogs are going to be able to be trained into Treibball players, but using the principles most dogs can be taught to drive the ball to their owner, providing a fun and rewarding process for a dog owner and dog to experience together. To learn more about treibball, visit the associations official website.