Is Structure Satisfying to a Dog?

United States
March 28, 2007 9:32am CST
I have been wondering lately if dogs feel more satisfaction from doing something that is structured, than doing something that is random and just fun in the moment. (Assuming, of course, that dogs feel, which I completely believe, and assume that dogs are capable of satisfaction, which I think they are (look at that contentment when chewing a good bone.).) If a human bangs on a piano keyboard and makes noise.. it can be fun, but only for a short period. What is really rewarding is when the human learns a song. Puts in the effort to learn the structure that produces a song. Same with dancing... you can flail your arms about, but it's more satisfying if you learn a routine and a structure to follow. I do dog sports... agility, obedience, (some herding) and flyball. I also take my dogs to the mountains to run amok. They seem to enjoy both. There are always rules. As all animals must follow rules, even in the wild. I just wonder if my dogs get more satisfaction when they follow my instruction in the dog sports... say agility, rather than randomly running around the equipment with no goal in mind. Of course they get rewards when the follow my direction, which is more reinforcing. But sometimes those tunnels are just Too Much Fun and off the dog goes into one when not supposed to. So my question is, do dogs get more satisfaction out of a structured activity than a non-structured one? I wonder...
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