My First Treibball Match

For a while now I’ve been hearing all about Treibball and how it’s the latest dog sport. Well, when I heard that a local training facility was going to have a fun match, I decided I wanted to check it out.

I definitely want to get Riley into a dog sport where we can compete and train with a focus and I’ve had several people recommend Treibball to me as something the dogs really enjoy.

So this past weekend I drove about half an hour away to see what the big deal was. The video above is from the fun match I visited (though I didn’t see this pair in person).

What is Triebball?

Essentially, Triebball is herding where the things being herded are large balls. The balls look a lot like the exercise balls you use at a gym (in fact, based on the logos on the balls, some of them were from a gym). The dogs have to herd the balls into a goal by pushing them with their noses.

Points are deducted for biting at the balls and for various other things along the way.

My Impressions

While I’m not totally sold that this is the sport for Riley and I, I do think we’ll probably give it a try. There are several things about it that are very appealing and that I think will help Riley do well.

First, unlike Agility or Obedience where there are often lots of dogs in close proximity, Treibball is done with minimal distractions. Since Riley still has a tendency to bark at other dogs (or anything else that gets her over excited), that’ll help with keeping her quiet while she’s doing her “job.”

Second, fetch is one of Riley’s all time favorite games. So I think it’ll be fairly easy to teach her that these big balls are just toys that she needs to bring to me (the owner/handler stands inside the goal). That concept should be a fairly easy one for her to grasp and I think she’ll do well at it.

However—and this is a big thing—I think it’ll take a TON of work to teach her not to bite at the balls. Fetch is all about bringing me things in her mouth and even when working on her touch command (touching her nose to my hand) she sometimes forgets and tries to take my hand into her mouth instead of just tapping with her nose.

That said, 2/3 isn’t bad.

How I Plan to Decide

Since our training membership is up today, Suzie, our trainer, wants to try Riley at a few different things and test her to figure out if she’s ready to move on from manners classes to one of the sporting classes—and from there we’ll also decide what we want to try.

In addition to Treibball, I’ve always wanted to do agility with a dog, so I’m predisposed to that idea and we’ll also consider teaching her nose work (maybe even search and rescue some day). Other than agility, I don’t know a ton about most of the dog sports out there so it’ll be a learning process as much for me as for Riley.

Fortunately, it’s one I’m definitely looking forward to.

Do you do any dog sports with your dogs? Have you seen or tried Treibball? Share your experiences in the comments!

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  1. Choosing a Dog Sport to Train | Teaching Riley - [...] Agility we tried some of the basics of Treibball (for more on what Treibball is, click here). Herding exercise …

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