Updated: May 5. What is Trigger Stacking? A trigger is a stimulus that causes the increase in awareness, fear or reactivity in a dog. As the number of triggers increase we see a reaction that can be labelled aggressive.
Aggression does not come out of the blue
What is trigger stacking in dogs?
I wake up early to the sun on my face. I am feeling good this morning and decide to head to yoga. After the class, I get ready for work, all smiles, feeling refreshed from my practice. I head into my favorite coffee shop and order a latte.
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Has your dog ever displayed a stronger reaction than usual to something like another dog or person? Maybe he growled at a guest or snapped at a dog walking by. Maybe he even bit someone. Your dog may have been experiencing something called 'trigger stacking. A stressful or scary situation has a physiological effect on a dog. When a dog experiences a stressful event, he experiences, among other things, an increase in cortisol levels - the stress hormone associated with the 'fight-or-flight' instinct. It can take around 72 hours for those hormone levels to return to normal, and in that time period, the dog is particularly sensitive to additional stress. Thinking about the way in which stress effects our own lives can be helpful in understanding how it effects our dogs.
When we adopt a dog, what we expect is for them to be happy. When I adopted Amigo, what I told myself was that he was thinking:. Lady, you are the best person I ever met. We are going to have the most amazing adventures together! Thank you! Thank you so much. See my waggy tail? Who the hell is this woman? She seems very nice. Hands hurt.