Treibball practice from the Czech Republic
Yes, this is a real sport! Treibball is very new, but is already established in many countries around the world. It was invented in Germany as an alternative to livestock herding trials. The name "Treibball" - pronounced "try ball" - is German for Drive Ball, or Push Ball. Think soccer crossed with sheepdog trials, and you have the idea.
The basic idea of Treibball is that a dog uses its nose, chest, or shoulders to push eight large inflatable balls across a field and into a goal. The handler may give as much direction as necessary, but must stay at the goal line. There are six levels, and the challenges increase at each stage, from three balls over a few metres, to eight balls, in order, through a variety of obstacles, over much longer distances. A dog can qualify for titles right through from Novice to Champion by attaining a particular standard at each level.
It's a simple concept, but actually involves a surprising number of complex skills, and a lot of problem solving for the dog. Treibball is an accessible and rewarding activity for all dogs, regardless of age, mobility, size, shape, and breed, and great for handlers with limited mobility too. OCTC is the first club to run classes in this new sport, and we think it has a great future in New Zealand.
Treibball in New Zealand is administered by the Treibball Association of New Zealand (TANZ). You can see a copy of the Treibball rules here. There is also a Facebook page, Treibball New Zealand, for those who are interested in the sport where you can ask lots of questions.