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Treibball: species-appropriate dog sport for active four-legged friends


Many dog-breeds, that were bred originally as work-animals, are held mainly as families and society-dogs today. Dog sport is the perfect way to employ these animals in a species-appropriate way and to challenge them both mentally and physically.

A very popular sport, for which especially medium-sized to large animals with a high urge to move can be inspired, is for example Treibball. 

What Treibball is all about, what challenges you can expect during training and whether your dog is suitable for this sport, you will learn in the following. We will also explain how you can optimally support your dog's health and vitality with the right diet.

Origins of the Treibball

Treibball is a rather young dog sport, which was developed in 2003 by the Dutch dog trainer Jan Nijboer as a species-appropriate occupation for under-utilised herding dogs. Meanwhile, the sport is also very popular with the owners of many other breeds.

Nevertheless, the reference to herding dogs is still very clearly noticeable today through the names of the utensils used in the Treibball. The playing field is called pasture, the balls are called sheep and the gate is called gate.

How Treibball works

How Treibball works

A sufficiently large lawn area is required as a training area. A goal with a height of two metres and a width of three metres is set up on this. Eight gymnastic balls of different sizes with a diameter of 45 to 85 centimetres are placed in front of the goal. The distance to the goal is at least 15 to 20 metres and the balls are arranged in the form of a triangle with its tip pointing away from the goal.

The dog's task is to move all eight balls into the goal one after the other. Ideally, the dog will start with the ball at the top of the triangle. For this purpose, he may use his entire body and move the balls either with his paws, his muzzle or his body. Whether he rolls them close to him or pushes them is also up to him.

Your task is limited to directing and motivating your four-legged friend with acoustic signals and hand signals. You are not allowed to actively intervene in the action and to touch the balls yourself. The end of the Treibball is the so-called down position, which your dog must take parallel to the goal. 

Treibball tournaments for ambitious dogs and owners

In the meantime, Treibball has also established itself as a tournament sport. According to the rules of the VDH, it is possible to compete in different performance classes, whereby all participating animals must be at least 12 months old.

In addition, dogs are divided into different size and performance classes so that smaller breeds (with correspondingly smaller gymnastic balls) as well as beginners and older dogs can take part in Treibball tournaments.

The dog handler is in the goal area during the competition, which is always two runs, and the dog has 10 minutes to move the balls over the goal line. Errors during the run may result in penalty points or even disqualification. 

This is important in Treibball training

Of course, pushing eight balls into a goal sounds easy for you. For your dog the unusual task at the beginning is a challenge not to be underestimated. It can therefore take a moment until your four-legged friend internalises the Treibball sequences and understands what you expect from him.

Bellfor Soft-Snacks

But if you pay attention to some points when practicing, it is only a matter of time until your dog is enthusiastic and gives his best at every Treibball training. 

First of all, it is important that your four-legged friend is attentive and learns to handle the balls carefully. Of course, he should get them into the goal as quickly as possible. But he should not destroy them. If your dog starts to bite into the balls during Treibball practice, you must stop it as soon as possible.

Start the Treibball training with a long drag line and a harness. After a while you can do without both and limit yourself to gestures and acoustic signals when steering the four-legged friend.

Rewards for Treibball

In principle, the Treibball during the runs without the gift of treats and if necessary only a feed dummy as motivation aid used. But of course you should reward your four-legged friend after a successful round with a suitable dog snack.

For this purpose, we recommend that you use healthy treats such as our tasty soft snacks. The cereal-free treats are characterized by a high content of animal proteins and are therefore ideal as a species-appropriate reward for Treibball training or just so for in between.

Treibball is not suitable for all dogs

Considering the size and weight of the balls used in Treibball, it goes without saying that this sport is not suitable for all dogs. 

But even if Jan Nijboer originally had in mind mainly unused herding dogs like Border Collies and Australian Shepherds during the development of Treibball, this kind of dog sport actually gives pleasure to many animals.

Of course, there are no particularly small breeds like Dachshunds and dwarf poodles, slim greyhounds or unsportsmanlike English Bulldogs. As long as your four-legged friend is big and strong enough to move a gymnastics ball with a diameter of up to 85 centimetres over a longer distance, there is a good chance that you will hit exactly his taste with a Treibball.

Treibball and a diet tailored to your needs

For the health of your dog it is essential that you pay attention to a healthy nutrition, with which you consider the need of your quadruped. This is especially true for animals that are particularly active through dog sports such as Treibball. 

Because physical activities represent for the body of your four-legged friend an additional load and lead among other things to an increased energy requirement, which you must cover by an adapted feeding.

Our feeding recommendations, in order to support your four-legged friend with the Treibball

Ensure that your dog receives enough calories with a high-quality dog food, such as Bellfor Premium PUR Aktiv with a high meat content. In addition, we recommend you to pay attention to an optimal protein supply of the athletically active quadruped.

This is particularly easy with Bellfor Fitness Powder. The natural food supplement contains insect protein as a well-tolerated source for all essential amino acids as well as dried bananas and white chia seeds as suppliers of important vitamins and minerals.

Fitness powder from Bellfor is therefore ideal for supporting the daily diet of your dog active in Treibball and making a valuable contribution to rapid regeneration, high performance and muscle maintenance.

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