Should you try Treibball? How to decide if Treibball is for you!

Here's the thing…

With so many dog sports out there, each with their own pros and cons, it can be hard to decide which to choose! If you enjoy teaching precision and control, maybe you'd like obedience. If you enjoy fast and dynamic behaviors, agility may be more your speed.

Exploring the world with your dog? Maybe you'd like parkour! Fascinated with how your dog can use their innate skills? Give nosework a try!

So, what about treibball?

The challenge (and fun!) in treibball is about getting control at a distance… having a dog that can follow cues even in motion with a balance between keeping their attention on you and independently performing complex behaviors.

What is Treibball?

Sometimes called "ball herding" or "urban herding," treibball is like a cross between soccer and billiards that you play with your dog.

In most "classic" versions of the game there are 8-balls on the field set up in a triangle shape, with 4 balls in the front row, 3 in the second, and 1 ball in the back row.

The handler works with their dog to bring in those balls one at a time, gradually demonstrating more and more control as you work through the levels of the sport.

Here's a sample competition run with my GSD Riley at the Championship level through the Amercian Treibball Association (ATA).


Venues For Treibball

There are a number of different treibball venues. The sport is still fairly up-and-coming, so many of the venues offer video titling programs to make it easier to title your dog in the sport even if there aren't in-person competitions in your area.

Each venue has slightly different rules, but here's a basic breakdown of the types of competitions the venues offer (in-person vs. virtual), notes on how they're different, what the game looks like to earn your first title, and what size field you'd need to compete.

Treibball Skills: Breaking Down the Game

If you compete in other sports, there's a good chance you have at least a few of the foundation skills you need to play the game!

A good targeting behavior is key to teaching many of the foundation skills in the sport — from there you can build going around the ball, and the distance work you need for the game!

Skills to Teach:

  • Go to Target
  • Move between targets
  • Go around an object (and pause!)
  • Go around a ball (and pause!)
  • Go around a ball and move between balls
  • Push the Ball
  • Push the ball - harder and further
  • Add in distance
  • Add in steering
  • Add in multiple balls
  • Pushing a ball that offers resistance (because there's another ball in the way)
  • Learning to go to point
  • Pulling it all together!!

From there it's just adding complexity and working to learn all the different situations your dog may encounter on the field!

More than Manners: Types of Learning
E119: Loretta Mueller - "Timing in Agility"