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  • Writer's pictureMecca Curtice, CCDT, CTDI

Trigger Stacking - Leads to Reactivity

Updated: Jun 6

Trigger stacking can happen in our own lives. You are running late for work and have a flat tire on the way.

Trigger stacking can happen in the lives of dogs too. A dog could be afraid of children and sees ten children on a walk. A home could be having a new roof put on and the sound of the people at work is causing stress in the dog.

As dog owners we must watch for trigger stacking in our dogs. Maybe you noticed your dog is getting stressed after vacuuming. A dog may be scared of other dogs and become reactive after seeing two dogs on a walk. Events in dog's lives can cause reactivity.

There is help for dogs we must first watch for it. We can address fears with training even small ones. Start by limiting the number of triggers.

Once a dog has become reactive to a trigger, they need time to calm down, before the next trigger. Avoid situations that cause trigger stacking. Using good management to avoid trigger stacking.

A dog may have problems on walks, and it may bark and lunge. It's time to train and help your dog. An owner may have to take walks at different time of the day when there is less activity on the walk. A shorter walk may be necessary to avoid the dog becoming reactive. I know walks are great exercise for both dogs and people but there are other choices to help also. Did you know that training your dog something new is a great choice. Thinking and learning is more tiring than a walk.

Too much excitement even if it is positive and fun can stress your dog out too. Your dog just had a great time playing with a dog friend or a game of frisbee. Then has a bad experience because the neighbor just kicked over the trash can with a big bang. Causing your dog to jump in fear. These good and bad events happened very close together. Now suddenly your dog has reached the end of his rope. This state of arousal makes him unable to think clearly. Your dog may show behaviors of irritability, or aggression. The dog is upset and may be showing selective hearing. Now is the time to look at the events that just happened to your dog.

I hope this helped you understand about Trigger Stacking in our lives and dog's lives too.

See you soon!

Mecca Curtice CDBC, CCDT, FDM, CTDI

Sheboygan, WI.

© 2022 Mecca Curtice Mecca's All Breed Dog Training, LLC.

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