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Performance Week 2015 :: A Collies Online Feature

Treibball Temptation!
A New game you can "Trei" with your collie

By Karen Jordan

Coming up with content ideas for this year's Performance issue created a kind of serendipity. I initially had the idea to contact Jeannette Poling, from the Collie Rescue Foundation, to see if she knew anyone that took their rescue dogs into Performance events. She kindly referred us to Bobby Chastain.

06/08/2014: Bobby Chastain and Uncle Sal -- A Treibball Intermediate Run
Treibball CH Sweet Softhearted Salvatore, DCD, ADV, TD, ADV, CGC
(Special note: Sal earned his Intermediate Level Title the weekend this run was filmed)

In reading Bobby's stories about her three rescues she discussed training and competing with her dogs in "Treibball" and at first glance I thought that word was a typo. So I "googled" the word and found this entirely "new" (at least to me) performance sport/game for dogs called Treibball. The game is especially geared torwards herding dogs. So within a story came another idea for a story . . . Aaaah Serendipity.

It turns out that Treibball (Pronounced Try Ball) originated in Germany around 2003 and sanctioned competition started there in 2008. It appears that the sport started to make waves here in the U.S. around 2011 but it is still relatively unknown in many parts of this country. Actually, I asked around and not many people have ever heard of it.

It is thought to have started as a substitute for herding, where sheep were not accesible. The game uses both classic obedience and herding cues and involves only positive reinforcement training. Fun all the way around as I see it! So lets get started.

Treibball is basically a game of herding, pushing or driving a group of large inflatable exercise balls, one at a time, into a soccer-sized net. There are eight balls to be exact. The dog and handler have up to 15 minutes to drive, push or herd all the balls into the soccer net. The handler must stay within an 18-foot radius from the center of the goal and the team that works the fastest with the fewest errors, wins. The game promotes teamwork and great communication between the dog and handler. It can also be a great outlet for dogs that have lots of energy.

The game is considered a low-impact sport for dogs and especialy the handler, as the handler is not required to run with the dog as in agility. Equipment is very affordable and easy to set up. It looks like a great game for those new to training or if you have a senior dog that still wants to play and can't handle the intensity found in agility and livestock herding. Young puppies may also benefit as well. And lastly, your neighbors will most likely appreciate this air-filled rubber flock!

Will this sport catch fire here in America? Not sure. But in the meantime, we can certainly entertain our collies and ourselves with some fun.

Those with a background in herding and obedience will most certainly pick this new game up quickly and can get started. For beginners, there are many tutorials on the Web that can get you started. Go ahead, give it a Trei! I know I am tempted to!

We found this training video very useful in getting started. It's a how-to on the basics of Treibball.

You can also find out much more about this fun sport at the American Treibball Association:

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