According to the North American Treibball Association, Treibball, also known as Driving Ball or Herding Ball, is a new dog sport that originated in Germany. Treibball requires your dog to herd eight large fitness balls into a net, similar to a soccer goal, in 15 minutes or less. This dog sport is great exercise for all dogs, large and small, and develops concentration and independent thinking. Treibball is the perfect sport for herding and sporting dogs.
Treibball, developed in Germany by Jan Nijboer in 2003, became a competitive sport in Europe in 2007. Many dog training schools in the United States are adding Treibball to their course offerings, especially in the Midwest and California. In Treibball classes, dogs learn to move large, 22 inch to 34 inch, air filled balls into a net or a pen and the dog handlers learn how to incorporate distance work to direct the dog. The handler signals the dog, guiding it to go out to the balls and wait for the herding command. The dog handler directs the dog to go right or left to begin herding the balls into the net using a series of hand signals, whistles, or verbal commands. Treibball is very similar to herding a flock of sheep and is ideal for dogs that want to work.
The eight different colored Treibball fitness balls are arranged in a triangle similar to a game of pool, 15 feet away from the goal net. The dog handler stands to the right of the net or pen and cannot enter the herding area that is the length of half a soccer field. When the start whistle blows, the dog has 15 minutes to herd the balls into the net. The dog has to push the balls into the net in a certain color order and the handler directs the dog with distance commands to the correct ball.
Yelling or pressuring the dog in any way results in a time penalty. More advanced Treibball competitors push the balls through narrow passages and water obstacles. Beginner handlers and dogs just need to get the colored balls into the pen.
Treibball is not as easy as it sounds and before beginning Treibball training, the dog should know the basic obedience behaviors sit, stay, down, heel, and come. Treibball requires dogs to work off-leash, so a reliable recall is necessary.
North American Treibball Association
Living with Dogs: Treibball, The Ball Herding Handbook
Your Hub: Denver Metro Area Treibball Association
German Shepherd Home: Treibball/ball Herding Rules and Training