Trigger stacking in animals
Each time your animal feels stressed their body releases hormones which ready them for fight or flight. Throughout the day these stressors and hormones will add up. If just one event causes us stress we can cope e.g. your alarm didn’t go off. But if many stressors occur it becomes increasingly difficult to stay calm e.g. alarm didn’t go off, you had an argument with your partner and you were late for work. This is called trigger stacking and is due to a build up of stress hormones in our bodies. Trigger stacking can partly explain why some animals seem to ‘explode’ in a situation which they would normally cope with. It is not about just that one moment in time! This is why we need to eliminate any stressors in your animals life.
For your animal stressors could be people, other animals, places, objects, injury, disease or pain. Try to take this into account each day e.g. if they’ve had a stressful morning perhaps this is not the best time to take them out which they may find challenging. Make a list of anything which causes your animal distress and either work out how you can avoid it, or change your animal’s association through counter-conditioning with the help of a qualified behaviourist who you can find