Walking your dog on MOD land can provide valuable opportunities to exercise them in open spaces, and this can be very rewarding for both of you. If you plan to walk your dog on MOD land or want to know how to keep yourself and your dog safe when you do so, this article will provide a basic guide. Read on to learn more.
Some of the MOD uses of their land are understandably not compatible with safe use by the public; such as when live firing is taking place or there’s the risk of unexploded ordnance or other hazards an unsuspecting person or dog might come across.
You might well find restricted areas like these within wider stretches of MOD land that you are allowed to access and that are safe for you and your dog, and so you need to know the warnings and indications to look out for to ensure you don’t go, or let your dog go, somewhere unsafe or that they are not allowed to use.
Areas that are dangerous and that you must not enter on MOD land (or let your dog enter) are marked out with clear signage and red flags (the flags tend to map the boundary of the area, with intermittent signage) during the day, and at night, the red flags are replaced with red lamps.
If you see red flags or red lamps on MOD land, do not enter or proceed further. This is for your own safety.
You might find that even in areas of MOD land you’re permitted to use, there are activities going on that might scare your dog, or pose a hazard if you get to close, so it is really important to stay alert and stick to public rights of way. Fast vehicles on and off roads, flashing lights and bangs and even stationary training equipment can be dangerous, and some of them can scare your dog.
For instance, flashing lights and loud noises is apt to generate the same sort of reaction in most dogs as fireworks will, and may cause your dog to bolt off; which is a problem in itself and might lead your dog directly into danger.
Red flags or lamps and signs indicating their use aren’t the only types of warnings and directions you might see on MOD land; obey any other signage and directions.
It is important to stay (and keep your dog) to rights of way; MOD land is not open access land and there is no right to roam unless otherwise indicated. This will help to ensure you don’t wander into danger, and in some cases, disturb wildlife that can be found on MOD land.
The public areas of MOD land shouldn’t have anything hazardous in or along it, but if you do find debris or something you’re uncertain about, don’t touch it and do keep your dog away.
When you leave MOD land, clean off your shoes and your dog’s paws before you get into your car (or go back into the house if on foot) and wash your hands.
Some areas of MOD land are open for public access most or some of the time, but they’re also used for live firing. During live firing times, members of the public and of course, dogs, are not allowed to use them. If you happen to head for MOD land when live firing is happening or about to happen, the red flags or lamps mentioned earlier will alert you of this.
However, you can check and so, plan walks ahead of time and find out when live firing is going to happen in the places that this sometimes occurs via this link.
As well as the directions and information regarding walking dogs on MOD land that are designed to keep you and your dog safe, there are also a few general rules you must adhere to as well.
When you park to take your dog onto MOD land, ensure you don’t block a gateway, road, or access.
Always clean up after your dog; bag the poop and dispose of it in a bin.
If you see training or military personnel active on MOD land, even in areas you’re permitted to use, keep clear of them; and follow any directions military personnel may give you.
Dogs must be kept under control at all times. This means either keeping them on a lead, or if off the lead, being totally confident they will return to you right away if you recall them, and that they are always in your sight.
Whether on or off the lead, never let your dog leave the designated path or places that you’re specifically allowed to use.
Keep your dog on a lead around livestock (which can indeed sometimes be found on MOD land!) and other than on designated public rights of way, between Marth 1st-July 31st each year to enable nesting birds to go undisturbed.