Can I teach my dog how to play volleyball? Yes, you can! We’ll show you how to play volleyball with your dog with this fun and challenging exercise. Doing sports together with your dog has never been so much fun!

Attention! Use a soft ball, such as an inflatable ball – not a real volleyball. Keep in mind, however, that an inflatable ball is very vulnerable and can break.

How do I teach my dog to play volleyball?

Step 1: Teach your dog to touch the ball

Hold the ball with both your hands and hold it above your dog. Does he touch the ball with his nose? That’s it! Immediately reward your dog. Most dogs have no problem with touching the ball, but some dogs can find it a bit scary at first. Take your time! Does touching the ball go well? Then link a signal word to it, such as the word ‘touch’ (or choose any other word).

Step 1: Volleyball wtih your dog

Step 2: Push

Does your dog touch the ball when you use the signal word? That’s it! Now wait until your dog touches the ball a little more firmly. Reward your dog if he touches the ball harder so that he understands what you are asking him to do. Does he not touch the ball harder? Then wait a while and give him time to figure it out.

Step 2: Volleyball with your dog

Step 3: Catch

If your dog manages to push the ball, hold the ball a little bit looser in both hands above your dog’s nose and ask for another ‘touch’. If the push up is firm enough, the ball will come loose a little from your hands, after which you can ‘catch’ it.

Step 4: Building up the distance

Increase the distance with your dog by offering the ball with your arms outstretched. Does your dog have enough ‘head strength’? Then you can increase the distance even more and, instead of offering the ball from your hands, slowly throw it to the dog. So that he can push it back with his nose and you can catch the ball again.

Step 4: Volleyball with your dog

Patience is key

Does your dog not understand the trick? Just go back to the step 1 or repeat the exercise a few times. Make sure you don’t make the steps too big. The calmer and more clear you are, the better and quicker your dog understands what he needs to do.


Is your dog too eager towards the ball? Then make the touch exercise easier by first covering the ball as much as possible with both hands, leaving only a small area free to ‘touch’.

Pay attention!

If the dog heads with his mouth open, he can touch the ball with his teeth. This can be his ‘head style’, but if this threatens to turn into biting the ball, then stop the game and start it again easily from the beginning.

Challenging variation

When training, it is important to keep the game interesting: pushing the ball a little harder each time or increasing the distance a little further. Challenge: instead of pushing harder or further, can you also teach your dog to keep his nose a little longer against the ball?

Ball addiction

Some dogs can be ‘ball junkees’, because when seeing a ball they think of nothing else than: ‘ball’, ‘ball’, ‘ball’. Because of this your dog can get a high stress level and that doesn’t do them any good. If your dog reacts very strongly to the ball, it is better not to play ball (any more) and work on learning to ignore it.

Reward tip

You can work with dog training cookies as a reward or just use a part of the daily kibble he gets. This way you can play volleyball when your dog has a food intolerance. Do you want to use something super tasty for your dog? Then use our secret weapon: Prins NatureCare!

Annerike from the CareTeam

Questions about your pet's behaviour? The CareTeam loves to help you with free advice!