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Some dogs are natural herders. If you have a Collie or a German Shepherd, this will come as no surprise to you. They have been bred to move livestock from one place to another. That instinct is still strong, even though they are living with a human family. If they don’t get to do some herding, they get frustrated and bored and can start nipping at ankles or chasing cars.
A herding ball is the perfect remedy. They are large and robust and your dog can move them around using their chest and head. You can train non-herding breeds to play with them as well. Dogs can spend hours herding balls around a garden and can get plenty of exercise. Here’s a no-nonsense guide to why you may want to invest in a herding ball and what to look out for when you buy one.
If you have an energetic dog that loves playing with balls, but you are fed with them getting destroyed after a few days or even hours, this is an ideal product for you. It is made from a hard, inflexible plastic so it is very difficult to bite because it does not deform when put under pressure.
The 14-inch version of this large indestructible dog ball is perfect for larger dogs (over 110 pounds) but you can get five smaller sizes down to a tiny three inches for very small dogs. The ball is so big that dogs cannot get them in their mouths. You have the option of filling it with gravel, sand or water and it is available in three colour choices.
It’s described as the toy that your dog cannot destroy! Although they will spend hours of fun trying to! This large indestructible dog ball (14-inches) is made from a hard and thick polyethylene plastic that is non-toxic. It comes with a lifetime guarantee.
14 inches is the biggest size and will suit most larger dogs and there are smaller sizes available. They will find it very hard to get their mouth around and will flip it up in the air and chase it.
This is a dog ball with a difference! It is designed to withstand being punctured and will not deflate when it has a hole in it. Your pooch will spend hours chasing it around and that will keep them healthy.
It is light and soft and will withstand constant chewing. It bounces which makes it great for playing exciting ‘fetch’ games and will even float so it is great for games in the water.
For a totally safe toy made from a non-toxic material that does not damage the environment in the manufacturing process, this is an excellent choice. It is so safe that it meets child toy safety standards.
The ball is lightweight yet very strong and durable. It will not deflate when it is punctured because it has an innovative self-inflating design. It encourages play and builds up a bond between you and your pooch. It’s designed specifically for larger herding breeds. It is important to note that it is not designed to be constantly chewed so supervision is required. A junior version is also available for pups.
Made from environmentally friendly and non-toxic material
What to Consider When Buying a Herding Ball for Dogs
Just about every dog loves to play with a ball but they do so in different ways. Some like to chase them, some like to chew them and some like to herd them. Here are some of the things that you should consider before you select a ball for your dog.
What is the herding ball made of?
Any ball that is designed for dogs needs to be tough. Most are made from a hard, polyethylene plastic which dogs cannot destroy. Indestructible dog toys will last. They are available in a variety of colors and some are embossed with a design although others are shiny to make them even more difficult to chew. Some owners have reported that the herding balls can become sharp where their dog’s teeth have scored the surface but this can be sanded off quite easily.
What size is the herding ball?
The whole point of toys for herding dogs is that your dog pushes them around the place with their chest and nose. It needs to be big enough to stop them getting in their mouth. Some dog balls are made from a special material that will not puncture when bitten and these tend to be smaller. There may be a size guide provided with the ball.
How durable is the herding ball?
It has to be able to withstand a lot of rough play. It will be played with outside where there could be sharp surfaces and they get knocked around a lot. There will inevitably be some attempts at biting it. However, it is important to remember that even though it is durable, it is not a chew toy and will not satisfy your dog’s need to chew. Puppies, in particular, will need another chew toy for this. For more options head over to our guide on the best chew toys for puppies.
Does the herding ball have a handle or a plug?
Some balls have a handle or a plug that sticks out. It is possible for dogs to get obsessed with these and chew them or carry the ball around using them. This is not such a good idea because it can damage the ball and can damage your dog’s teeth.
How heavy is the herding ball?
The toys for herding dogs are not generally designed for indoor use. They are too robust to be herded around a house and would end up damaging furniture. If you want a ball for indoor use, one of the smaller balls in this review would be more suitable.
What is the herding ball filled with?
Herding balls are not just filled with air like ordinary balls. Some models can be filled with water or even sand or gravel. This makes them heavier and makes them move around more like another animal which makes it more realistic for your dog. However, it means that they are even more unsuitable to be used indoors and if you try to kick or throw them you could end up hurting yourself.
Will the herding ball float?
Some of the foam-based balls will float on water and so they can be used for fun water games at the river or the beach. Remember to make your dog’s safety a priority when playing in the open water.
Does the herding ball come with a guarantee?
Perhaps your dog will be the one that actually manages to break the ball? You may want to check the manufacturer’s guarantee to see what your rights are with tough dog toys.
Benefits of Giving Your Dog a Herding Ball to Play With
Dogs love to play with toys and will frequently steal footballs and tennis balls from their owners and destroy them in a day, or less. There are plenty of benefits of investing in a durable herding ball for your fun-loving furry friend!
A herding ball won’t break
Dog toys have to be durable because dogs’ teeth are tough! This is one toy that will last for ages and will not have to be replaced every week. They will continue to try to break it and that keeps them amused!
Your dog can’t bite into a herding ball
The larger herding balls are 14 inches in diameter and made from the tough plastic material. It is virtually impossible for a dog to get a grip of it in their teeth and that means that they can’t bite it. Instead, they chase it around the place and this gives them plenty of exercise.
They can express their natural instinct
A herding breed of dog will want to herd! If there are no livestock around they will try to herd other objects or humans. That can get pretty annoying. A herding ball for dogs allows them to act instinctively and that makes them happy. If they cannot express their instincts in this way, they will try to herd you around the house and will start snapping at your heels.
Herding balls prevent boredom
All breeds can get bored and a bored dog is not a great animal to have around. If your dog is not stimulated both physically and mentally it can lead to negative behavior including:
Herding balls provide an opportunity for you to bond
The herding breeds will naturally herd a ball but most other breeds can be taught to do so. Teaching your dog to herd is a great way to spend time with them and bond with them. There is even a new sport called Treibball which is gaining popularity and is played competitively. Dogs and their handlers have 15 minutes to herd eight balls into a ‘goal’. Learning to do this at home is a lot of fun – for both of you!
Best Herding Ball for Dogs FAQ:
Q: What is a herding ball?
A: Herding balls are tough and usually large balls that are specifically designed for dogs to move around. Normal footballs simply aren’t tough enough to withstand the constant biting and are just the right size to fit in a dog’s mouth. Herding balls are usually made of tough material that does not give way when it is bitten. The balls are so big that your dog will find it very hard to bite them.
Q: What kinds of dogs should use a herding ball?
A: Herding dogs are bred to chase and control livestock and instinctively want to do this to just about any object they come across. They are known for being highly intelligent and they do not like to be unchallenged! A herding dog that cannot herd will soon get bored, frustrated and destructive and a herding ball for dogs is the perfect solution. Some of the typical herding dog breeds are:
It’s not just the herding breeds that would benefit from a herding ball. Any energetic breed can be taught to herd a ball and it will be a great exercise for them and keep them entertained for hours.
Q: How can I train my dog to use a herding ball?
A: All you need to train your dog to herd a ball is patience and a few supplies. Make sure that you have plenty of time to go into your yard or garden with some rewards for your pooch. You obviously need a herding ball and something that you can use as a goal. Goal posts are ideal but a couple of poles in the ground will suffice.
The touch method is a good training approach. Start by teaching your pup to touch your hand and reward them each time they do it. It may take some time for them to get the idea. Then move on to them touching a post-it note on your hand. Next, place the note on the ball and gradually make the note smaller and smaller until your pup is touching the ball without a post-it note being attached. Then introduce some herding commands such as ‘come by’ and ‘away’ to get them to bring the ball to you or move it away from you. Remember you will need plenty of treats and don’t rush it.
Once they can move one ball around, you can introduce other balls and eventually you can work up to getting a full eight balls into a goal. The fun does not have to stop there. You can work together on increasing the speed. Before you know it, you’ll be entering competitions!
Q: What size herding ball is right for my dog?
A: Most herding balls are large. They are meant to be too big for your dog to get inside their mouth and therefore do not get bitten or punctured. They are usually available in several sizes so it is important that you get one that is big enough to avoid getting chewed. Most of the larger herding breeds like German Shepherds will need a 14-inch ball.
There are some tough balls available that can withstand chewing and 10-inch balls are recommended for breeds such as Great Dane and Bull Mastiffs. At the other end of the scale, a four-inch ball is perfect for a Jack Russell. They do not puncture when chewed and maintain their shape.
Our Top Pick
Jolly Pets Push-n-Play
Our pick of best dog herding ball is just what you need for your energetic dog or for one of the herding breeds. The hard, durable plastic resists bites and the ball is so big it is hard for your dog to get its mouth around. It would suit dogs over 110 pounds who are bursting with energy. It can be filled with gravel, sand or water and you can choose from three bright colors.
Sharon is a Ph.D. scientist and experienced pet content writer. As a life-long animal lover, she now shares her family home with three rabbits, a Syrian hamster, and a Cockapoo puppy. She has a passion for researching accurate and credible information about pets and turning it into easy-to-understand articles that offer practical tips. When it comes to our furry friends, she knows that there is always something new to learn!