The comments made here are subjective, meaning my opinion -although some of these are shared by many others. That doesn’t mean they are right for everyone, but are certainly worth considering.

Some of these have been mentioned by me before. These issues haven’t gone away, so here we go again!

Retractable leashes: I have NEVER met a dog trainer who likes these. Why? Because dog owners do not use them properly. If they were used the way they were intended, trainers wouldn’t have to gripe.

Flexi or retractable leashes were designed to be used in a safe environment. This means, not near the street (cars), not sidewalks, not near people or dogs, or other distractions.

They were meant to be used in an open area, dead end street, empty lot, golf course, park, beach, country, walking trail, your yard, etc. – not on your walk in an urban or suburban environment, unless there is plenty of room to keep away from all the above.

Dogs should not be introduced to people or other dogs on a retractable leash. Simply put, an owner cannot possibly control the dog on one of these leashes, let alone a situation with another person or dog, without getting entangled themselves or – worse – having the dog entangled.

This represents a severe safety issue for people as well as dogs, often ending up with dog fights or people getting injured.

The best way to control a dog is to have him fairly close to you so he can pay attention. A retractable leash can’t possibly do that.

Food changes: Unless your dog has digestive or allergy issues, I believe a dog should change foods regularly. There are studies that show when done properly, changing the proteins in the (same brand) food on a regular basis improves a dog’s immune system within the digestive tract.

As you near the end of one flavor, transition over the course of 10 days to a new protein while leaving other ingredients roughly the same. This also helps when you have fussy eaters.

Treats and wet food: You feed your dog the best quality food you can, whether grain free or not, but you feed them a lower quality canned food and treats made with by-products.

Sheesh, come on now, does this make sense?

Bathing: How often should you bathe your dog? The most you should bathe your dog with a shampoo is once a month. People often bathe their dogs every week because they “smell.”

If you bathe that often, you will strip the dog’s skin and coat of its natural oils, which might smell a bit, but it keeps the skin and fur healthy.

If your dog swims regularly, hose her down thoroughly with water, not shampoo. If your dog’s fur or hair has an odor or is dirty, use a deodorizing bath wipe to refresh his coat. That will clean the skin but not destroy the natural defenses.

Most dogs need to be bathed only about every three months, but owners look at me like I am nuts when I say that!

All grievances on the above can be directed to me.

Abby Bird is owner of Alpha Dog Obedience Training. ajbird@hargray.com