Q: I am training a Labrador and things are going pretty well but I've got a problem. The ground where we train has nice bits of woodland on it but after hunting through them he spends hours afterwards nibbling his pads and is unable to settle in the kennel. I don't know what's causing it but he is now showing a bit of reluctance to enter cover for a retrieve. What can I do?

Peter Blatch, a full-time trainer with kennels in Northants, says:

A: You say that you are not sure what’s causing the problem with your dog’s pads, but I suspect it’s down to small stinging nettles – they are the most common cause of irritation to feet and yes, if stung badly enough, can be a right pain.

The sensible solution is to keep him out of the woodland for a while until his pads harden off again. Restrict his training to grassed areas. A bit of water work wouldn’t go amiss as this will not irritate his pads.

I would not recommend that you put any cream on the pads unless directed by the vet: the wrong ointment will only be licked off and the dog could end up with an upset stomach. If you do apply anything to the pads it will need to be covered with a bandage or a protective bootee.

Photo by Jon