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What is Treibball? A Bit About The Newest Dog Sport

As one of the country’s first Treibball training centers, we hear this question a lot—so what is Treibball? And should you try it?

What is Treibball? A ball herding sport for dogs of all ages and breeds.

What is Treibball?

Treibball, also sometimes called “ball herding,” is an off-leash dog sport where your dog learns to herd 8 rubber balls into a goal.

The balls are set up in a triangle, like in billiards. The dogs can then use their nose, chest, or shoulders to drive one ball at a time to their handler in the goal. They have up to 10 minutes to bring in all 8 balls.

But Treibball is much more than just a “herding game.”

Treibball requires dogs to learn how to respond to their handler’s commands and body language. Commands can be verbal, hand signals, or whistle commands. It helps teach self control, distance work, and attention, while building a better bond between dog and owner. It also helps with off-leash reliability and confidence.

In the early stages of learning the game, you will teach your dog how to target a mat, focus on you at a distance, orient his or her body to yours, and push a ball.

Then you’ll bring all of these skills together to teach your dog to confidently bring in the ball you indicate on the Treibball field!

Who Can Play Treibball? (Not Just For Herding Dogs!)

Almost any breed of dog can learn to play treibball. Treibball is unique in the dog sport world because it is something almost any dog can learn. It’s low impact, making it great for older dogs who may have retired from another, higher-impact sport, like agility or fly ball.

At Superior we have a wide variety of dogs that compete that are not “herding breeds,” including a Jack Russell Terrier, Corgis, a Mastiff, and a Cockapoo. Of course, that’s not to say herding dogs aren’t welcome—we’ve also taught many border collies, aussies, and German shepherds!

And because no other dogs are allowed near the field during a competition, Treibball is even suitable for dogs that may be dog reactive (although definitely let competition organizers know this in advance, so accommodations can be made).

Treibball is also a great sport for just about any handler. Because during a competition the handler stays in the “goal” area, this is a great game for handlers who have active dogs with lots of energy that they might otherwise have trouble keeping up with.

Treibball’s History: A Little Background

Originally developed in Germany by Jan Nijboer in 2003, it first became a competitive sport in Europe in 2007—from there, it made its way across the ocean to the US.

The American Treibball Association (ATA) became the first sanctioned organization for Treibball in 2010. The sport has grown quickly since then, and has really taken root here in North Carolina—we’re second only to Colorado in the number of ATA certified trainers!

It’s taught through positive reinforcement and is fun, challenging, and rewarding for dogs and handlers alike.

Want to Learn More? Come to A Demo or Workshop!

At Superior we regularly participate in Treibball Demos and Workshops, as well as offering Treibball classes.

In the next two months we will be hosting both a Treibball Beginner and a Treibball Intermediate workshops.

Treibball Beginner workshop:  Jan 17, 2014   6-9pm
Are you interested in learning a new sport?  In this workshop you will learn all the foundation skills needed to continue on in the sport of Treibball.

Treibball Intermediate workshop: Feb 7, 2014  6-9pm
This workshop will move you from the foundations skills into the game itself,  learning how to use the foundation skills to play the game of Treibball.

Workshop Pricing:
$60/working spot for 1 workshop or $100/working spot for both workshops
$40/Audit spot for 1 workshop  or  $70/Audit spot for both Workshops

Space is limited to 8 working and 8 Audit spots.

To register: email Suzanne at