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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Ladder Of Aggression

Years ago, I worked for in a small organization. We all knew each other well. And all of my coworkers knew that I had several dietary restrictions – (no animal products, no processed foods, etc..)

One day they were planning a potluck and folks were wondering how to accommodate me. I told them it would be easier if I just brought my own food.
The day of the potluck came and one of my coworkers made a dish that had meat and other stuff I didn’t want. She tried to get me to eat some and I politely said “no thanks”. But then she insisted that I at least just try a small amount. I said “no thank you”. She pushed the issue, so I just calmly walked away. She followed me down the hall saying, “you can just pick the meat out”. I said “no thank you” a bit more firmly. She continued to pursue. So I turned and yelled. “I DON’T WANT ANY”. Then she got mad at me for yelling at her.
I didn’t want to yell at her. But she ignored all of my polite requests to leave me alone.
Most of the time when a dog growls or bites or snaps, it’s because a whole bunch of other requests/warnings were ignored. A growling dog is normally stressed and uncomfortable. Most growling dogs don’t want to bite, but they might try that next if they feel they have no other choice. And if we suppress a growl, then they might not have any other way to express their discomfort other than biting (since we often ignore head turns, lip licks, yawns, etc..)
See the “Ladder of Aggression” here:

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