Have you heard of Treibball? The exciting new doggy sport everyone's talking about

Guest Post by Kaye Hargreaves from Wagging School

Trieball is a positive-reinforcement dog sport where dogs must gather and drive large exercise balls into a soccer goal. Treibball is thought to have started as a substitute sport for herding dogs who did not have access to sheep, but who require mental as well as physical stimulation.

To play, you start in front of a goal, with your dog beside you. Your dog learns to go out several metres to a large gym ball, turn and face you and then herd the ball towards you and into the goal.


In competition, the dog has to push eight balls into the goal, one by one, in as short a time as possible. The eight balls are set out in triangle, rather like the balls in snooker. Wherever the ball has gone, the dog must get behind it, then face towards the handler and drive the ball towards the goal. Of course, the other balls have then been scattered, a bit like what happens when you break in snooker. So you then have to send the dog to the left or right, back or forwards, to each ball so the dog can drive them one by one into the goal.

At higher levels, the dog has to drive the balls past or through various obstacles. These might be chutes, weaving poles, a tunnel, water traps – anything that you can make up. That’s why Treibball is so much fun. It is not yet set in stone, so to a large extent, we make it up as we go along.


Who can play Treibball?

It’s great for those frustrated urban working dogs (and isn’t that all of them?), who, up until now, have only had joggers and cyclists to herd. However, any breed can learn to play. It is not confined to herding breeds.

One advantage of Treibball is that, compared to agility, the dogs don’t have to jump or be quite as fit. So dogs that have retired from agility or obedience can still do Treibball. It is suitable for less-fit or disabled handlers as well, because the handler stands or sits at the goal and sends the dog out, using distance control and directional signals.

Puppies are also welcome from four months of age however a puppy class first would be ideal.

Treibball is great fun, both challenging and rewarding for handler and dog alike.

Before racing off and getting your dog pushing balls around there are a number of 'Foundation Skills' that your dog needs to acquire first. Untrained dogs can chase, bite and slash at the ball.

At Wagging School Triebball, skills are provided under four categories:

1. Training Methods - The dogs are taught by positive reinforcement, particularly targeting and shaping 2. Basic Control - This includes off-lead control with distractions, so your dog can work around other dogs with movement going on 3. Impulse Control - This mostly means not attacking the ball, but waiting to be sent to it. 4. Treibball Skills - We teach your dog to orient to you, to go out to a mat, which is used as a place target, use of directional control at a distance to send your dog to the left or right, and of course the ball control skills that make up the main activity of herding the balls into the goal.

If you would like to give Treibball a go, contact Kaye on #9489-5095 or e-mail waggingschool@netspace.net.au.


Kaye Hargreaves of Wagging School started teaching Treibball in early 2013, beginning with a 10-week Introduction to Treibball Course, which is intended to lay a foundation for playing Treibball.

Kaye offers:

- 1 1/2 hour workshop on the fourth Monday of every month - Casual practice sessions all other Mondays - One-on-one private lessons - If you can round up 6 or more dogs + owners, Kaye will come to you for a 4 week 'Trei before you buy' workshop

Photo credits: Meg O'Hehir