Treibball Hide and Seek, a fun training game!

This is a great game to add variety to your training and build drive for the ball!

It is simple: Hide the ball out of sight, send your dog to find it and drive it back to you. (If you are familiar with a “blind retrieve”, this is similar.) To play, you first must teach your dog how the game works:

Step 1) Train the “find” first: Put the ball out of sight but let your dog see where you are putting it. (Behind a bush, or around the corner in a doorway in your house, etc.)
From close range, send your dog to find the ball. As soon as they get to the ball have a big party for finding it, run in and +R at the ball. Then ask for a short drive to you, and +R again.
NOTE: For the entire chain of “go find the ball and push it back to me”, you will probably need a different cue or a combined cue. (Mine is “Go, PUSH!” This is same cue I use for any difficult ball retrieve and push back to me, in sight or not. See the “Runaway Ball” post.)

Step 2) Once your dog understands “go find the ball”, increase the distance. Distance is up to you, but raise criteria appropriately so that your dog can be challenged but still be sucesssful.

Step 3) Once your dog understands “finding the ball from a distance”, start using using different “blinds” to hide it in. Use your imagination! Play at short range with each new blind the first time, then increase the distance. A few times with different blinds and your dog will begin to generalize the “hide and seek” behavior.

This is a great game for in the house too-put the ball in different rooms and send your dog to find it, pushing through halls and doorways! Outside you might use trees, shrubs, or set up your own blinds with trash cans, agility equipment, your car, garden shed, or anything else you might have. The whole idea is that the ball becomes the focus amidst other distractions and the reinforcement should be great for finding and returning it to you! This game helps build drive, as some dogs need more reinforcement for finding the ball than others. Lots of +R for just finding the ball helps to build that drive for all dogs.

Train your dog month!

January is National Train Your Dog Month. What fun to start off a new year thinking about training and improving your own skills and your dog’s. A great way is to try a new sport, or a new challenge within the sport you are already doing. For treibball this might mean to begin increasing distance, or add more balls, or work on ball control skills with challenging directionals. As long as your dog is ready for it, try a new challenge! One of my favorite  treibball training games is working corners-and during the cold months you can easily do this one in your house!

Corner game: Start by placing the ball in a corner with enough room for the dog to get behind it fairly easily. Click and reinforce any attempt by the dog to get behind the ball when you give your push cue. As they become confident getting behind the ball in the larger space, make the corner tighter and tighter until eventually the ball is right up against it. You want to shape your dog to use their nose to “dig” the ball away from wall with their nose/muzzle/head (but no paws allowed!) and then get their whole body behind it to push to you. Eventually you can transfer this game to corners all over your house, in between cabinets, etc. You can increase the sends from longer distances as you and your dog progress.

So have fun-play ball!