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As some of you may know, Shelby has a very big month coming up. On May 20th, she begins her official sheepherding training courtesy of Carolyn and Raspberry Ridge sheep farm.

But a few days before that, she’s set to begin Dog Sport Fundamentals at our dog training club. The fundamentals class is a six week, crash course montage of some of the skills needed for the more high-paced dog sports. There will be lessons on walking on strange stuff and jumping for agility seekers, lessons on rapid recalls and retrievals for the flyball all stars and object and hand targeting for those trying out for treibball.

Say what? Try who?

Here’s a German Shepherd relaxing after winning a mini-version of the game which can be played in the comfort of your own backyard!

Treibball, sometimes referred to as “ball herding” is a new dog sport originating in Germany circa 2003. It was originally developed for bored herding dogs who didn’t have access to sheep.

The dog stands on the starting point until the signal to begin has sounded. He stands facing the eight balls, much like a pool cue.

The game is pretty simple. There are eight balls the size of yoga workout balls, set in a triangular formation like a rack in pool. The handler directs the dog with hand signals, whistles and verbal cues to push or “herd” the balls, one at a time, into a goal the size of a soccer goal. The handler cannot move outside of his/her allotted space, and the dog must get all the balls into the goal in about 15 minutes. The team is judged on cooperation and direction. No verbal or physical corrections are allowed.

Any breed, age or size dog can participate, although the herding breeds (somewhat obviously) excel at the sport. U.S. competitions started in 2008 and now take place nationally.

Any breed (or non-breed), size or age dog can play!

Any breed (or non-breed), size or age dog can play!

Training involves object targeting (specifically using a target stick, something like the handle of a broom with a spray painted end, for example) and by teaching directional cues (also used in herding). Dogs as young as 6-9 months with solid obedience beginnings can start triebball training, and it’s a great way to get some of that extra puppy energy focused on something new and fun. It’s also a great way to keep your herding dog in good shape and focused throughout the winter months when the sheep are tucked away inside the barn.

Don’t let your dog miss out on the fun!

And it’s all about the positive reinforcement!

Look at me mom! I’m going for the goal!

To learn more, check out this link: http://www.clickertraining.com/node/3287

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