Whale Watching in Puget Sound: See Orcas, Seals, Eagles and More Aboard a Whale Watch Boat

Visitors to the Puget Sound region can book whale and wildlife watching cruises from several communities in British Columbia and Washington State. Though there are many variances between operators, there some similarities as well.

Type of Boats and Amenities on Board

Whale and wildlife tour companies use every kind of water craft imaginable, including small, open boats, kayaks and inflatables. However, the majority of the operators use stable, all-weather boats that can carry ten to thirty passengers. Most boats are heated, have comfortable seating, and a head (toilet) on board.

What Can Participants Expect to See During Whale Watch Cruises?

Resident pods of orca whales frequent Puget Sound from Seattle north through the Inside Passage. These animals are well-known to whale watch operators, and often appear in fairly predictable locations. Seals, porpoises, and sea lions are frequently spotted, as are eagles, herons, deer, and a variety of waterfowl including loons and puffins. In addition to orca whales, minke, gray, and humpback whales are sometimes seen.

Naturalists on Board

Whale watch naturalists make the trips enjoyable and informative. Naturalists help passengers spot wildlife, provide information about the geology, biology, and botany of the region, and answer questions.

Duration of a Whale Watch Cruise

Most operators offer day cruises that vary in length from 4 to 6 hours. Most cruises depart either mid-morning or early afternoon and return to port by late afternoon. Departure times are fixed, but return times are approximate due to the distances traveled, weather conditions, and the presence of wildlife.

What Does a Cruise Cost?

Costs vary, but most cruises run between $60 to $80 dollars US for adults, with discounts for children. Some operators also offer discounts to large groups who book in advance. This year, due to rising fuel prices, many companies are adding a fuel surcharge of $2 to $4 to ticket prices.

Children on Board

For safety and the comfort of other passengers, some whale watch operators prohibit children under the age of six, while others welcome families with young children. Generally, whale watch boats are comfortable, but confined, and without child-focused entertainment or food service, so parents need to determine whether this activity is appropriate for their child’s age and activity needs.

How to Find a Whale Watch Operator

In the US whale watch businesses operate from the US mainland, the Olympic Peninsula and the San Juan Islands. In Canada tours leave from Victoria, Vancouver, and several of the Gulf Islands. To find a cruise in the US, begin by visiting the GoNorthwest web site. In Canada by going to the British Columbia web site.

How to Teach a Dog to Sit

Will Your Dog Just Not Stop Standing? Teach Him to Sit in One Day!

Find out what motivates your dog. Sometimes it’s something as simple as a few pieces of their kibble, a ball or a treat broken up. If you are using food motivation, pick things that are in small pieces or that you can break into small pieces. That way they cat eat it fast and keep training. You don’t want to be waiting for them to eat their treat because this is disrupting your training time.

Once you have their motivation, stand in front of your dog. They can be in any position: sitting, standing, laying down etc. You should be facing them. Say their name and sit. while holding their treat in front of their face and slowly moving it up over their head.

Your dog will do one of two things. He will either lift his head and follow the treat until his rear hits the floor. As SOON as the rear end touches the floor, give him that treat! The second thing he might do is just keep backing up! If he does this you can treat him and easily teach him the command “back” which can be handy for getting dogs away from visitors or away from the door when the mail man comes. Back to sit, if your dog is backing up, take hold of his collar to stop him, use your other hand to touch his rear just above his tail and pet down to the backs of his “knees” and push his knees in. This will cause his back legs to buckle causing him to sit! Again, as SOON as the rear touches the ground, treat!

Let your dog play with his ball or toy for a minute or eat his treat. Pet him and give him lots of verbal praise at this time also. Now you will probably have his undivided attention. Repeat steps 2 and 3 at least 5 times. Wait an hour or so and go back and do steps 2 and 3 again at least 5 times.


By this time, your dog will probably know how to sit. Just because he knows one day doesn’t mean you don’t have to practice another day. Keep him motivated by changing treats of doggie toys. Make him sit before feeding and sit to get pet. This will become all the encouragement he needs to obey you. Use this same technique to teach them to lay down and to come. In no time at all you will have an obedient and happy dog!

Bulldog Grooming

Bulldog grooming is beneficial in a whole number of ways. One of the best aspects of grooming is the mood of a bulldog afterwards! A well-groomed pet is often a happy pet. After all, don't most of us feel better when we look our best?

Of course, catering to a puppy's vanity is only one of the many benefits of bulldog grooming. Grooming is also a great way to spend time with your pet while engaging in a constructive activity at the same time. While dogs might be resistant to grooming at first, many of them grow to enjoy it as time goes on. What's better than quality hours spent with an adoring human companion?

Health Benefits of Bulldog Grooming

Bulldog grooming can also go a long way towards protecting your dog from bothersome fleas and ticks. A good grooming session after a bulldog has spent a day outdoors can rid your dog of any unwanted guests. Fleas and ticks can be a great annoyance to your pet, and must be dealt with on a consistent basis to prevent any unnecessary annoyances.

Grooming can also prevent mites from gaining a foothold in a dog's ear passages. These mites can cause great damage to a bulldog's ear canals. Cleaning out your dog's ears with a safe, gentle solution can keep mites from multiplying. If mites are left to their own devices, itching and even eardrum damage can result.

Dog Training Books

Dog trainers and dog training books are both extremely helpful to new dog owners teaching dog obedience. Resources like these offer a lot of insight into communicating effectively with canines. You learn about your dog's body language and ways to be assertive without being aggressive. Most dog training utilizes knowledge of a canine's natural instincts to be effective.

What You'll Learn from Dog Training Books

If you are a new dog owner, or planning on becoming one shortly, you may wish to enroll in a dog obedience training class. These classes are taught by experienced dog trainers, who teach commands and ways to establish your role as the boss. After learning the basics in a class, you may want to look into dog training books for more help teaching other commands and tricks.

What you'll notice in dog training books is that training relies on a dog's instincts. Dog house training relies on the fact that dogs instinctively like to keep their living areas free of waste. Dog crate training is effective because dogs instinctively control their bowels and bladder when temporarily confined in a small space. Dog training books also teach you how to redirect natural behaviors toward more acceptable outlets.

For instance, dogs naturally enjoy chewing on things out of boredom, to relieve stress, or when they are lonely. Many dog owners leave their dogs home alone and return to find things like shoes, purses, newspapers, or furniture destroyed from dog chewing. However, this behavior can be prevented if you train the dog early on with toys. Keep the dog's living quarters limited to one area in the beginning, offer plenty of toys, and remove property dear to you. Each time the dog chews on the toys, offer him praise and affection. This is how you can eventually redirect behavior and reward him for behavior that satisfies you!

Have You Lost Your Dog? Tips to Get Your Pet Home Quickly

No one likes losing a family pet. It can be devastating to realize that your family dog has run away or is lost. Many times you come home to realize that something simple like the gate not being shut properly has led to your pet becoming lost. The panic sets in and you hope that you will see your dog again. There are some techniques that you can use that will help your dog come back home more quickly.

The first thing that you should do as a preventative measure is to try to contact your local pet organization. This could be something like a humane society or the local animal shelter. Typically these services get lost pets when people find them as it's a good place to drop them off. If they have a good description of your pet and know your number, you will be notified if they find your pet. This helps you get your dog back more quickly.

Typically your dog will be running around the neighborhood with the intention of coming back home later. When you start off on your neighborhood search, be sure that you grab something that your dog loves like a squeaky toy. This sounds can be heard far away and will notify your pet that you are close by.

When you are doing the neighborhood search, try to ask those around if they have seen an animal that fits the description of your pet. This doesn't have to be every neighbor. Everyone once in awhile ask those who are outside if they saw your pet that day. This can help narrow down the search area.

If you haven't found the pet in the initial day that he or she has run away, turn to the internet. Use local community services to put up posts of your missing pet. This could a community website or even the local Craigslist site for your area.

Humpback Whale Facts – Megaptera novaeangliae: Discover the Feeding Methods and Behaviour of These Baleen Whales

Whales along with dolphins and porpoises belong to the order Cetacea. The order is divided into two suborders:

  1. Suborder odontoceti, or toothed whales – dolphins, sperm whales and porpoises
  2. Suborder mysticeti, or baleen whales – rorquals (the largest group of baleen whales), right whales and gray whales

Humpback whales fall under the suborder mysticeti, or baleen whales. They are a blue-black color with some paler areas along the underside, white-edged flippers and a large tail that it slaps against the water’s surface. They are capable of swimming at 27km per hour and can blow a mist of water from their blowholes up to 3 meters high.

Brief Overview of the Humpback Whale

The humpback whale has prominent knobs on its muzzle and their anterior (front) limbs are modified into flippers and most have a dorsal fin and tail flukes. Their dorsal fins, which can be swelled into humps by fat deposits, are often visible on the surface of the water when the whales come up for air.

Flippers are used to swim, protect calves and in surface displays. Humpback whales have the longest pectoral fin of all the whales and it is almost a third as long as their body length. Nostrils are in the form of single or double blowholes on the top of the head and no hair can be seen apart from a few bristles around the muzzle. Upon exhalation it can spray mist up to 3 meters in the air.

Humpback whales can dive to 200 meters depth and stay submerged for up to 30 minutes. They are able to travel at up to 27km per hour if necessary, however, normal traveling speeds are between 4-14km per hour.

Things to Do with Your Dog During Great Outdoors Month

To enjoy playing outside with your dog he doesn’t have to be a spry puppy, you can have a nine-year-old dog and still have a blast. So this is a little bit of a guide to what to do with the nice summer weather that’s coming up.

Hiking

Hiking is fun for you and your dog and it’s great for mountain areas, (although I advise you have a younger dog for the mountains). You should bring water and treats for your dog when you go. Places such as Colorado are pretty nice places to go hiking, and it’s easier for you and your dog to go on paved pathways unless you like to make your own.

Or even a simple walk

Not Just the Ordinary Fetch

Though it may seem old school, dogs are never bored of fetch. Although one thing that sometimes turned me off of playing with my dog is a slimy tennis ball but with the chuckit not only is it cleaner it’s even more fun for your dog! Going to a dog park is usually the best idea for trying to play with your dog.

Swimming

Some places will allow dogs in the pool. If not you can use your own pool. Something that’s pretty fun to do while in the pool is to put squeaky toys in the pool (try to make sure that they float other wise your dog might get hurt while trying to get them). And if you push them around in the pool they really like it.

And if you live by the ocean it really makes their day when you play with them on the sand, although you should probably take them through a calm part of the day.

Playgrounds

Some places have dog playgrounds or even some places where they train dogs they’re sometimes open to the public for you to play with your dog. Or even set up your own playground with some skateboard cone or tires to jump through.

Wrestle

I wouldn’t suggest you do this if your dog has a habit of biting people or having very hard kicking paws, but if you have a medium sized dog or a small dog (I wouldn’t suggest it if you have a Mastiff), wrestling on the grass over a dog rope toy or a treat is fun.

Treat Hunt

We may think of this as a little bit of an Easter activity but dogs don’t take it that way. All they see is that they have to search a little for their snacks. Dogs love this kind stuff.

A Show Dog Gone Bad: Molly's Adventure Part 1

Once I was a prized show dog. I traveled across the country, being preped and pimped and pranced through show rings from New York to Florida. With my pointy, sharp ears, lean but small frame and stick-straight, cropped tail, I was a sight to be seen. A boxer I am, red and sassy. My kennel name was even Red Hot Tamale. (Molly for short.) I won Reserve Winners Bitch and was loving my life.

But my flame was fleeting. Large dogs were winning over me and so I was relegated to breeding and locked away in a cold damp cage. Alas, that too was short-lived. I gave birth to three puppies and that was all. My depression soon made me infertile. After years of no more puppies, I was given away.

I jumped in a truck, not knowing where I was going. I was excited because I LOVE CAR RIDES! Nothing else mattered too much. I arrived at a new house. I smelled and sniffed. I sat and waited to be taken home; not realizing I was home. I was with two strangers and a cat that had tasty poop and food. But I couldn’t do anything right. I was constantly in trouble; always getting yelled at when I at the poop or food. I was being feed different food, was in a different place and with people that wanted to pet me when I wanted to lick their face. I was not happy.

Then the car rides started. I went everywhere with my new owners. I was always hanging out the window. Wind blowing through my hair, sun on my face. I was beging to think this was paradise. I even got to sleep on the floor with a blanket.

Then I started thinking about my old life and like a toddler I started acting out…

Read the Adventures of Molly Part 2 to see what trouble I got myself into.

Reasons Why Your Dog Maybe Losing Their Hair

As we all know dogs or cats lose their hair just like any of us. Just because they are an animal doesn't mean they can't have major hair loss problems. Do you know the reason why your dog is losing so much hair? This is the first step you must try to solve. There can be so many reasons why that you really never even thought about. With no answer this will drive you so crazy thinking that there can be something seriously wrong. Here are some reasons maybe why your dog his losing some hair:

  1. If your dog has a seasonal allergy or is allergic to certain chemicals in your home this can cause your dog to become severely itchy, irritated, and cause so much hair-loss to the point of patches missing.
  2. Hormonal diseases such as hypothyroidism or cushion's disease can make your dog lose hair in clumps, just like a human gets when they have this disease.
  3. If your dog is highly allergic to flees or mosquito bites your dog will actually scratch themselves until patches of hair fall out. Make sure you check your dogs tummy and the tail for signs of any little creatures lurking around underneath the hair.
  4. If your dog had any surgeries or anesthesia this can actually make your dog suddenly lose lots of hair. It should go away after a few weeks, but with some dogs it can actually last a lot longer. If they still lose hair have them checked out.
  5. Hair-loss can also be cause by collie-nose, which is a sunburn on a dogs nose where it actually bleeds, peels, and strips the fur around the burnt area causing your dog to lose more hair. Your dog may also have some calluses on their legs, which may not be painful to them, but the dog can lose hair from having them.

Wiggly Field is a Home Run for Dogs

Opened in 1997, Wiggly Field is a dog park, located at 2645 N. Sheffield, in Reed Keppler Park. It is said to be Chicago’s first official dog park. Wiggly Field has gained local and national fame from several magazines and even on Animal Planet’s show “K-9 to 5”.

The park is open 7 days a week from sunrise to sunset, and is a welcome place for all dogs big and small. The area is enclosed by a fence and has double-gated entryways to ensure that dogs inside the area do not run out as others are coming in. There are benches and tables for owners to sit at and watch their pets as they run around and play, and when they go to the bathroom, there are plenty of doggy clean-up bags and trash cans throughout the place. Also, there are doggy water fountains to keep them happy and hydrated, and on hot summer days kiddie pools are brought out for the dogs to cool down in.

The park’s surface is now made of asphalt instead of grass, but there is good reasoning behind it. Even though it might be a little rough on Fido’s paws, it can actually help prevent the spread of bacteria and virus between dogs. At first the park did have grass, but it was soon realized that when it rained and things got muddy, the spread of germs increased. So, eventually the grass was converted over to the hard surface that it has today.

And, don’t forget to pick up your permit before heading out to the park. In order to enter, every dog must go to an approved veterinarian who issues the dog a special collar and tags that need to be worn at Wiggly Field. They must also be up to date on rabies vaccinations.

Sources:
http://www.wrightwoodneighbors.org/
http://www.we-goparks.org/