Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest It was a “dog-gone” good time at the first ever Eukanuba Performance Games, recently held at the Roberts Centre in Wilmington. The games are a series of competitions that require a strong team bond between a dog and its handler for success.The Eukanuba Performance Games lasted four days from September 14 through 17. There were 1,300 registrants (and their dogs) at the event, traveling from as far as Florida and Washington to compete.“We are thrilled with the success of the first-ever Eukanuba Performance Games this year,” said Andrea Goldstein, external communications manager for Royal Canin USA. “We can’t imagine a better way to introduce the new Eukanuba Field and ROYAL CANIN RING event venues at The Roberts Centre. From the competitors and attendees, to the community and the venue, we were amazed by the response we received for the event in only its inaugural year.”The competition was split into six different divisions to test the dogs and their handlers’ skills. The Fast Cat division tested the dogs’ speed in a timed 100-yard dash. The dock diving event challenged dogs to jump off a dock as high or as far as they could into a body of water. Scent work competitions highlighted dogs’ ability to discern certain smells. Once a dog noticed a specific scent, he/she would alert their handler.Disc games featured and emphasized the bond between handler and dog, as they threw andConley and Dorothy also participated in the dock diving contest.caught discs in a variety of different games. The barn hunt competition promoted dogs’ predatory instincts, as they worked their way through a maze of straw and hay to locate rats that were enclosed in aeriated tubes. There were also agility games to test the dogs’ ability and willingness to work with their handlers. The dogs and handlers navigated through obstacle courses and completed tasks.Marla Conley and her border collie, Dorothy, of Delaware County participated in the inaugural contest. The team is fairly new to the sport, having just started this year.“We competed in disc events and in dock diving this year,” Conley said. “There are a few different games within the disc event. There is throw and go, which is essentially toss and fetch with your dog, and then there is a game called ‘fris-gility’ which is a series of obstacles the dog has to do before the dog catches the disc. You earn points by throwing the disc to different zones in a field. When you get points, you can win titles and then you can move through different levels too. The levels just kind of measure your competency and skill.”Marla Conley and her border collie, Dorothy, of Delaware County participated in the inaugural Eukanuba Performance Games in Wilmington. Photo by Taila Lewis.Most events are only split between two levels.“There were about 40 to 50 teams in the disc contest, and we were able to place tenth overall which was really exciting, especially since this is the first time they have held this event,” Conley said. “We competed in four different disc games over the four days and then they took our cumulative score to place us.”She and her dog Dorothy also placed second in the throw and go games at level 2, which is for teams that have advanced skill and competency.Preparing for the games required many hours of practice from both the handler and the dog.“I have to practice my accuracy and my distance with my disc throwing,” Conley said. “In the competition, you have to keep the disc inbounds on the field and then you’re aiming for the spots that give you higher points too. Dorothy and I will also practice together too. We practice a lot of communication skills together.”Conley and Dorothy also participated in the dock diving contest. Dorothy jumped a personal best of 24 feet and two inches. They also are working on learning to do free style, which is aThough they are a fairly new team to these kinds of events, Conley and Dorothy had a very successful outing. Photo by Taila Lewisroutine for the handler and the dog that involves tricks.“Right now Dorothy is able to do a few tricks,” Conley said. “She is able to do a flip in the air when she jumps. I just have to make sure she is safe and that we start slow.”Conley and Dorothy plan to participate in more dog shows throughout the year.“I love going to the shows because of all the great people you get to meet,” she said. “Everyone is so helpful and just really nice. It’s a competition but everyone is rooting for each other to do well.”Eukanuba and Royal Canin are already looking forward to hosting the games again in 2018 and, likely, for years to come.