a blog about Kilt and her kids plus Trouble our JRT mascot.

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Sequim, Washington, United States

Monday, August 8, 2011

New Game: Treibball

Melodie and I went to the Drummond Ranch the other night for a basic 101 course in the European canine game of Treibball. Not knowing what to expect, I brought 2 dogs....Kilt and Jet. But, I could only use 1 dog, so Jet got the nod.
Treibball is a precision game of fetch. Sound easy? Just like any other learned behavior one needs to break it down into steps. Treibball uses herding commands. Directions are come bye and away to me. That'll do and there are also used. That'll do ends the exercise and there stops the dog with you want him to turn in facing towards you. Almost like working sheep. I have heard some people say you shouldn't use herding commands "unless" you are working livestock. Quite frankly, that's not my thinking. I give my dogs much more credit in the "smarts department" to know the difference with playing with an inanimate object such as a ball and working live stock.
Though, Jet started working stock at this ranch many years ago and one time when I was quite a distance from the ball and said "away to me," he actually ran out and looked down the field for sheep. So there might have been a tad bit of confusion after working sheep for 10 years and then using the same terminology with a ball. Trust me; he'll figure it out :0)
The instructor had a Siberian Husky that he demonstrated with to the group. Everyone that was there used a clicker. The Siberian was focused and enjoyed the game. After pondering on the way home, I'm thinking that this is a pretty good game for loose eyed dogs. It is more of an precision obedience exercise. My JRT loves it.  Your dog needs focus and precision, so that's where the clicker comes into play.
The balls were put in tires because the dirt ground was uneven. Dirt and red ants....lots of ants :0(.

Level ground and grass would have been a plus. Anyways, first exercise is teaching the dog to come front. Second exercise is to allow the dog to find the area on the opposite side of the ball from you by allowing him to offer the behavior/ click/treat at the right spot. Third exercise was to put the ball between your legs and click for nose pushes. Jet did a few extra steps since he has a bit of basketball experience. The instructor set two tires about 5 feet apart. I would be about 10 feet away and send him with a come bye or way to me and say there at whichever tire I wanted him to stop at directly across from me. He kept crowding the tire wanting to push the ball, so as soon as he was correctly placed across from me I threw a treat behind him. This was to get him to give more space between the himself and the ball and hopefully a bit less enthusiasm about wanting go to push the ball. By the end of the class we let him push the ball.  And, all his precision work went out the window :0)  So, when I get home from my trip I think we will play this game.  Lots of precision work....reward with a small amount of pushing the ball and back to precision work.  Looks  like great fun!

The object is to send the dog to the ball and have him push the ball directly back to you in a straight line.  I'm sure there are all sorts of variations of the game.  I have yet to read about all of them.  The size of the balls are different.  The ball's size correlates with the dogs height just like in agility with jump height.  When I learn more, I'll update you on it.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Sounds like fun, but it's sure not going to compare to working sheep, who might seem dumb sometimes, but have a lot more of a mind of their own than a ball:)