Adrenalised: an experience or activity that thrills, frightens or both, that fills the body with the arousal hormone adrenalin.
Adrenalin is a good hormone, it makes sure our body is able to do what we need it to in order to perform an activity we enjoy or we need to do to potentially escape something threatening.
The only problem is that many of our domestic animals, particularly horses and dogs, encounter far more thrilling AND scary encounters in a 24hour period than they truly evolved to cope with. Enforced fast exercise (think running around on a lunge or after a ball), being confined, being socially isolated, dealing with a vast array of stimuli in the environment they are not 100% comfortable with, underlying pain or disease, all raise adrenalin.
If these experiences are more than a few minutes, aren’t followed by calm time, are repeated throughout the day, are accompanied by poor sleep opportunities, the adrenalin builds up and doesn’t get chance to lower back to resting levels.
Adrenalin speeds reactions, so once full of it, our pet may find it almost impossible to control their frustrations, fears, excitements. These animals move fast, may bump into us or others, may lose the concept of personal space, may be more inclined to attack rather than move away.
Considering ‘adrenalisation’ in our animals is a really important part of understanding their behaviour and to consider in those with behavioural problems.
Amber Batson BVETMED MRCVS