How can I stop my young lurcher trying to catch rabbits with its feet? Trainer Jackie Drakeford offers expert advice

Q: My young lurcher tries to catch rabbits with her feet. How can I get her to use her mouth?

JACKIE DRAKEFORD replies: First, check her mouth for discomfort or tooth problems. Assuming all is well, it is normal for many saplings to start by using their feet, especially collie-crosses. It sorts itself out from experience, but you can speed the process up by playing games with her that encourage her to use her mouth. Throwing a ball for her or getting her to chase a rabbit skin on a flirt pole are ideal methods, and there are dog toys that, when thrown, bounce erratically and make the dog keen to get hold of them. Get the largest size and disable the squeaker before use if it has one, as these cause some dogs to bite down hard, which is the last thing you want.