Poor little daft princess

By Mir
November 27, 2012

Licorice is having kind of a tough week.

First there was the long holiday weekend, which meant people were home all the time—YAY!—and then strangers were here—BOO! Except FOOD! YAYYY!—and then people were home but the doorbell was ringing a lot.

We’ll never know what Licorice’s life was like before she came to us, but I strongly believe at some earlier point in her development, every time the doorbell chimed, someone kicked this sweet little pup in the face. It’s the only explanation I can think of that justifies the way she loses her ever-lovin’ mind whenever someone comes to the door. She runs in circles and barks her head off and generally has a mighty conniption. (Yes, we’ve taken her to training. Yes, I can get her to shut up and sit down when she’s doing it, but as soon as I stop LOOKING DIRECTLY AT HER she goes back to freaking out, and as I find it kind of funny I haven’t bothered working on it further with her. I know, I’m a terrible, negligent doggy-mama.)

And, see, ’tis the season of Amazon Lightning Deals, which means the UPS guy is here a LOT. Also the FedEx guy, sometimes.

[In my defense: I won’t deny loving the Amazon Lightning Deals. But I tend to buy small/cheap items and then EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM comes in a separate box, so it ends up with a few weeks of the UPS guy thinking I’m a secret compulsive shopper/hoarder, I’m sure. Yesterday we got eight boxes. The shiny new pressure washer for Otto excepted, the contents received probably totalled about $50. But SO MANY BOXES, man.]

So. Licorice. Times are tough, man. With the people, and the doorbells, and all that turkey that was NOT falling into her open mouth. Sadness!

We noticed over the weekend that she was chewing on one of her hind feet. We distracted her with something shiny and she stopped, but the next day, she was back at it. I did a quick inspection and discovered that she had some sort of sore on top of one of her toes. (Of course dogs have toes.) I tried to wrap it up so that she couldn’t mess with it, but she literally leapt out of my crude bandage on her first couch dismount, so that was the end of that. I told Otto that if she wasn’t better by Monday, I’d call the vet. We spent a couple of days removing her foot from her mouth periodically, and by Monday she’d stopped chewing and it looked fine. Crisis—and cone of shame—averted. (No idea what that was all about, by the way. Did she hurt it on something? Was she just being neurotic and gave herself the sore via chewing? I guess we’ll never know.)

In the meantime, Monday brought a load of boxes and a lot of barking and running in circles and the general short-circuiting of her little walnut-sized brain. And THEN Monkey brought Mario home after school, so THAT was terribly exciting as well.

Know what happens when Monkey and Mario are together? I don’t really know, but I can tell you that whatever it is, it is LOUD. So very loud. Fortunately, it was a beautiful day, so I put the dog on a leash, gave the leash to the boys, and locked them all out of the house. PROBLEM SOLVED. Licorice dragged the boys down to the pond and they were all gone for a brief but blessed period of silence.

Upon their return, Licorice was covered in mud. She received a brisk toweling and some fur-brushing (OH THE HUMANITY) and then ran off to hide from the boys, who resumed being very loud right outside my office. (This is a decent-sized house with plenty of room for everyone, but I can tell you with absolute authority that the only fun place to be ever is RIGHT OUTSIDE MY OFFICE DOOR, particularly if you’re yelling. Trust me.)

The rest of the afternoon passed happily for all concerned, and it wasn’t until Mario’s mom came to pick him up that Licorice decided to yak up a gallon of pond water in the middle of my office. (“Welcome to my lovely home. This is my office, and this is a puddle of dog vomit.”) For some reason this seemed to expedite our guests’ departure—I cannot imagine why—and as I ran for the paper towels and spray cleaner, Monkey mused that Licorice HAD had quite a lot of pond water to drink, and did I think maybe that wasn’t good for dogs?

Know what our pond has a lot of? Geese. Licorice’s tiny brain bleats “GIANT CHICKENS! GIANT CHICKENS!” when she sees them, but apparently any brain matter that might register, “Hey, this water tastes like goose poop” was not included with this model. Now we know.

But hey, guess what I got on a Lightning Deal last week. A carpet cleaning machine! Hooooray! I shooed all living creatures out of my office and put all of the moveable things up on top of the immovable things and then I SpinBrushed the CRAP outta that carpet. (Er, I guess technically I SpinBrushed the PUKE outta the carpet.) The good news is that worked pretty well. The bad news is that the dirty water bucket pretty much made me want to burn this house to the ground and start over.

Today it’s raining and Licorice has just refused to go outside at all (she’s delicate!), so any minute now I expect her to combust and I’ll have to get out the carpet cleaner, again. On the up side, if that happens she won’t be around to go ballistic when UPS comes, I guess.


  1. Chuck

    Dogs are wonderful, but they are a big mess sometimes. I think it is preprogrammed for all dogs to bark at the doorbell, though.

  2. Little Bird

    I have never met a dog (who’s hearing was still intact) that didn’t go instantly insane upon the ringing of a doorbell.
    Have fun with the carpet cleaner, sounds like it’s gonna get a workout!

  3. Karen

    Mine loses his mind when anyone even approaches our gate…and I live in a very busy urban area on a major route to the subway. I lose MY mind all day long telling him to knock off the barking.

  4. Shannon

    Does she react to doorbells on tv, too? The ding-dong (literally) commercials start with October and the candy advertising and continue on through the guests arriving to admire the mandatory decoration….all must involve a doorway entrance. And let us not speak of the presential debate timer buzzer.

    I have that same burn it down because who knows what’s in it reaction when vacuuming with the Dyson. Carpet looks perfectly clean but Gma instilled in me…you vacuum every other day no matter what…then the cannister comes out with fur and hair and things I don’t want to think about since we don’t wear shoes in the house.

    Congrats on the scores and carpet machine.
    I hit the motherlode of online sales last year and because someone in the universe has a sense of humor, everything was delivered the same day. As in your case, each in it’s own box. 5x $4 flashlights for stocking stuffers? Best pack each with an air bubble in a box quadruple the size of said flashlight + packing. Came back to the house after errands and discovered the porch FILLED with boxes so much that entering the front door was impossible. I spread purchases out this year to avoid that but who knows….that universe humorist might still be out there with a magic wand in shipping land.

  5. Anne

    Super soaker. Stops barking and is more fun than can shaking or chain rattling. Now we only have to make gun hand and barking immediately stops.

  6. Marianne

    Bet the foot chewing was an allergic reaction to any turkey she may have been given. Turkey is very bad for dogs. I almost killed my chihuahua a couple years ago by giving him some turkey. He was violently ill . Now I know:)

  7. Mir

    Turkey is bad for dogs??? And here I was giving Otto a hard time for giving her mashed potatoes….

  8. Megan


    And, erm, what brand carpet cleaner would that be? Because the river that is normally several yards away is now flooded into my own very street and my flat is entirely carpeted and the mud? Oh… the mud…

  9. Laura

    Years after he was rescued and lived in various apartments with us (sans doorbells, obviously), our dog still went crazy every single time there was a doorbell on the TV, the radio….

  10. Nelson's Mama

    I’m glad our doorbell has quit working! Doesn’t stop Nelson from barking at the TV…

    My favorite discipline tool for dogs and cats is compressed air (like you clean your computer keyboard with) – just get that can out and our cats scatter!

    Nel love, love, loves turkey!!

  11. Tracey

    Turkey is not bad for dogs in general. It’s a commonly recommended source of protein for dogs who might be allergic to beef or chicken.

  12. The Other Leanne

    Intruder at the perimeter = dogs bark. It is what they do, what they are supposed to do, although the Husky I had just waited silently, menacingly, for the intruder to put one toe or hand inside.

  13. Katy

    I didn’t know turkey was bad for dogs, but I second the opinion of some kind of allergy. My “schnoodle” (who we bought because of how I’m so DELICATE and allergic to other dogs) turned out to be himself allergic to … well, we’re not really sure. The best hypothesis at this point is “nature.” At any rate, he went through several phases of trying to chew his own foot off. The vet suggested we transition him to a different food, and as of right now that seems to have dealt with that.

    Now we just have to figure out how to keep him from sticking his head in piles of oak leaves and making his eyes all runny…

  14. CuriousCat

    “It is what they do, what they are supposed to do, although the Husky I had just waited silently, menacingly, for the intruder to put one toe or hand inside.” Heh.

  15. Monica

    The house next door was vacant for many months after the previous owner passed away but it’s occupied again, the owners have a dog and my dogs are losing their minds. They’re very well trained at the things we care about (disturbing the neighbors) so they don’t bark when they’re outside, just sit and stare at the fence desperately trying to impart their wisdom on the new, barky dog that lives there. When they can’t handle it any longer they run into the house and run amok barking their heads off. I think I might have outsmarted myself.

  16. Jan in Norman, OK

    Maybe keep a closed container of little dog treats by the door. Ask the delivery folk and your friends to have one in hand to feed to her when the door opens. Maybe Licorice will begin to think of them as non-enemies.

  17. KarenB.

    Turkey isn’t bad for dogs, but if you give them too much of the skin and fat, it can cause pancreatitis, which will make them very ill.

  18. Lori N

    I finally figured out why my dog barks at the delivery people — both the UPS & FedEx drivers toss treats to my dog when she’s outside. In effect, they ended up training her to bark and run to the truck so that a treat will come flying out the window and across the yard for her to go find.

    Hope they stocked up on treats for this season of deliveries!

  19. laura

    Our Thanksgiving has been dubbed the year of ‘look, I made food’, because every dog, resident and visitor alike, threw up at least once. Oh the awesomeness of it all.

  20. Korinthia Klein

    Oh my god your dog is so our dog. They actually look alike and ours was a rescue, too, so maybe they were litter-mates at one time. Who knows? Anyway, I always read your Licorice posts to my husbands and when I do he just keeps repeating, “Wow, she is describing our dog.” Too funny.

  21. Amy-Go

    Pearl goes nuts upon hearing anyone approach our porch, let alone ring the doorbell. It’s a dog thing, I guess.

  22. Heather

    The crazy and the barking?

    It means she sees herself as your Sole Guardian And Protector. She’s obviously an intensely loyal dog … :)

  23. MichaelB

    We got 6 boxes yesterday – 6 of them were squarely YOUR FAULT!!! And I think two of the boxes expected today are YOUR FAULT too…

    I have officially classified you as an “enabler!”

    Oh, and turkey meat should be fine, I’ve heard that the bones and skin can be bad for dogs, but not the meat itself…

  24. JennyA

    My favorite part when my dog is losing her fool mind and running from room to room because of the doorbell or someone walking by outside, or, I don’t know, a leaf falling or because it’s Wednesday or something — is when she pauses in her circuit of all available windows to stare furiously at me, fur bristling, as if to say, “THE LEAST YOU COULD DO IS THANK ME.”

  25. Angela

    I think turkey must have something against my poodle at least. Apparently some people at family Thanksgiving dinner were feeding her because she had some awful room clearing turkey farts later, sheesh! Terrible. And normally my dog doesn’t have farts that I notice at all. I do catch her chewing on her feet sometimes and I think it’s from bug bites on her toes.

  26. Heidi

    Would disconnecting the doorbell and installing a knocker help? (Nice knockers!)

  27. Nancy

    We have a crazy Chihuahua that not only does this when someone rings the doorbell, but when someone walks up the driveway, or knocks on the door, when his girl comes home, or when people stand in the driveway talking to neighbors and I have to go out to remeind them they are driving the dog CRAZY! Yeah, and I’m one who does not like dogs so this one is not changing my mind any.

  28. Michele

    At 16 my little “psycho/announcer/greeter” went deaf and nearly blind, so she no longer barked at the door (much). I kinda missed it. At 18 her voice went away completely and she could no longer bark at all. I totally missed it. At 19 she passed away (a couple months ago) and you have no idea what I wouldn’t GIVE for her to be racing her bossy-little-pants around the house barking at the UPS guy. She was the Best Dog Friend Ever and I miss her every moment. (sob) The best bandage-holder I have used for animals is the rubbery/sticky bandage like vets use: http://www.vetdepot.com/petflex-no-chew-bandage-2in-x-5-yds.html xox

  29. Celeste

    If Sandy could get out to meet the delivery people, he would jump in their trucks and just go with them. Who cares where they’re going?

    Last summer he got some kind of bug bite and chewed a hole in his, um, rear flank. It happened overnight and he had to wear a cone for weeks. Four vet visits. So I’m happy for you that Licorice didn’t do something silly like that.

    Spot cleaning: I have to recommend “Incredible!” We cat-sat for the neighbors and they had left theirs on the counter. I used it on a mess their cats made so they wouldn’t have to come home to it. I liked it so much I bought some myself at Bed Bath & Beyond. It takes care of vomit, blood, and diarrhea. I never know what I’m going to step in when I get out of bed cuz Sandy’s a delicate flower. Yep, just like having another kid.

  30. Therese

    My dog loves to bark whenever he hears a plane overhead. I’ve tried explaining to him that we really don’t own the airspace, but he doesn’t listen :)

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