When it comes to fun games to play with your dog, Treibball is one dog sport that’s fun for you and your little herder!
Pronounced “try-ball,” this dog sport is like billiards for dogs. It originated in Germany for herding dogs who didn’t have access to flocks of sheep, but now it’s taken off in the U.S. as an urban herding game that teams up dogs and their people to have a ball while moving a “flock” of yoga balls!
“In Treibball, the dog is sent out around a group of eight balls to push one ball at a time into a goal,” explains Sandi Pensinger, owner of livingwithdogs.us and author of the e-book The Treibball Handbook.
Not only does this trainer help spread the fun of this dog sport to other doggie duos, but she and her 6-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, KK, have become one terrific team! “She likes to chase things and she likes working on projects with me,” Pensinger says. “If her tail is wagging, then I’m smiling.”
Although this dog sport is one of many fun games to play with your dog, just like other games, there are Treibball rules, including:
Setting up eight exercise balls in a triangle, similar to racked billiards balls. Then creating a goal that is 24 feet wide by 8 feet deep.
Standing at the goal, encouraging your dog to “herd” the yoga ball into the goal in less than 15 minutes.
Starting the clock when the dog leaves your side and stopping the clock when the balls are in and the dog is lying at your side.
In competitive rings, the fastest team with the fewest penalty points wins (penalties occur when an owner yells or a ball leaves the playing field).
Although dogs who like to herd and chase are natural candidates for Treibball, any breed can play this dog sport. It just takes a little quality time getting to know each other’s training styles … that’s just part of the fun!
“You could train in your living room,” she adds. “The basics are teaching the dog to orient to you. Then you can play just for fun at home or at your local park.”
Learn more about Treibball through the American Treibball Association.
by Kristy Alpert