By now, most consumers understand the basics of GPS (orGlobal Positioning System). You probably already have GPS built into your phone, smartwatch, or car dashboard. But did you know that a GPS dog fence is another option in today's technology-centric world?
GPS uses satellites to create a map of the entire world. This system can identify almost exact locations of objects that are digitally connected to it.
With GPS dog fences, that “object” is your dog.
What is a GPS Dog Fence?
For a dog GPS fence, you will need two main parts. First, a GPS collar for dogs. Second, a receiver. The receiver can be stationary or handheld and tracks the collar's (and therefore your dog's) position.
Depending on the receiver, you can configure your GPS dog fence for a specific area (for example, your backyard) or measure the distance between the receiver and the collar.
If your dog leaves this designated area or strays too far from the receiver, the system will sound an alarm.
This alert could be a beep, buzz or shock coming from the collar, for example. B. on a buried fence. Or a notification sent to the owner as a notification on the smartphone or by the receiver itself.
How is a GPS dog fence different from other invisible fences?
When we talk about invisible dog fences, we are usually referring to ground fences. These systems have aphysical threadburied in the ground that emits an electrical signal.
Your dog's collar is programmed to respond to this signal if you get too close, startling your dog with an audible or physical correction.
Nothing is buried in the ground with a GPS system. Instead, satellite positioning is the only thing that determines where your dog is in relation to the boundary or receiver.
GPS Fences vs. trackers
The consumer technology market for pet owners is booming, especially when it comes to GPS-enabled devices for your dog.
But not all of these devices are created equal.
A dog GPS tracker is a small device that usually attaches directly to your pup's collar. As long as this device is charged, you can access your dog's exact location using your phone, tablet or computer.
Think of it as Find My iPhone, just for your best friend.
To some extent, almost all GPS fences are also trackers. However, not all trackers offer wireless fencing capabilities.
The invisible disadvantages of GPS fence systems
You might be wondering why GPS dog fences aren't more popular. One of the most common problems with GPS dog fences is actually a problem.effective workout.
Teaching a dog the location of a buried fence can take days of training with physical markers like flags. Over time, the dog learns that the fence exists without these visual reminders.
However, if the buried fence changed, he would have to start training again.
In other words, one of the biggest selling points of a GPS dog fence — its portability — is also its biggest drawback. Every time you move the fence or use it in a new location, your dog has to relearn everything.
While you'll never cross the boundaries of the dog GPS fence, this technology does have limitations. GPS may work well for long distances, but it's far from perfect when it comes to accurate measurements.
This means that the fence boundary can "move" several meters depending on GPS signal strength, cloud cover and other interference.
In some cases, the difference of a few meters can allow your dog access to a busy street or other dangerous area.
For those with large stocks, this inconsistency will still confuse your beloved pup and hinder your training efforts.
So when should you use a dog GPS fence?
While not as secure as a long or sunken lead fence, don't rule out this technology entirely.
Many avid campers use a GPS dog fence to create an invisible boundary around their RV or campsite. This allows your dog a little more freedom on camping trips, providing security and peace of mind.
Of course, ongoing supervision is still a must.
While GPS technology can easily create a stationary boundary, it can also act as a tether to a single point. Often this point is a hand catcher.
You'll even find some search and rescue dog teams that rely on GPS collars to keep track of everyone.
5 GPS Dog Fences And Tracking Systems That Are Worth Trying
Finding the right fencing solution for your dog isn't easy. Each system comes with a list of pros and cons, and some are significantly more expensive than others.
Here are the best dog GPS trackers and fences available right now, and why you should (or shouldn't) invest in one for your own pup.
1. Garmin alpha 100
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ANDGarmin alpha100is an ultra-portable handheld GPS system that connects to up to 20 compatible tracking devices.
While the average sporting dog owner doesn't need to track 20 dogs at once, the system can also be used to track the movements of other hunters, hikers and campers.
In order to use this device to track your dog, you'll need to invest in a compatible collar. Garmin recommends pairing this receiver with the TT15 or TT15 Mini. The TT15 operates nine miles from the receiver and the TT15 mini operates four miles.
Both electronic collars are waterproof and provide a wide range of physical and auditory stimuli directly from the Alpha 100 device to correct your dog.
The portable receiver notifies you when your dog leaves a certain area or travels a certain distance with you. You can also activate the built-in LED lights with the GPS receiver to locate your dog in the dark.
This dog GPS fence may be a big investment, but it really is the best solution for any outdoor enthusiast traveling with one or more off-leash dogs.
The Garmin Alpha 100 uses MUR (Multipurpose Radio) technology along with GPS. Unfortunately, MUR technology is currently banned in Canada and the devicedoes not workoutside the United States.
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2. Dogtra Scouts
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In many ways it isdogtra scoutsIt's a stripped-down version of Garmin's sporting dog trackers.
This dog GPS fence system tracks compatible electronic collars within 9 miles of the handheld device. Although the Dogtra Pathfinder is less expensive and has fewer features than the Garmin device, it can track more than one dog or person at a time.
In contrast to the Garmin, however, the Dogtra Pathfinder has no screen. Instead, the device works with Google Maps on your smartphone.
If you're worried about using the map feature in the wild or using mobile data, there's no need. You can use the Dogtra Pathfinder app without an internet or cellular connection, but Bluetooth is required.
The included e-collar is completely waterproof and offers multiple levels of physical and auditory stimulation. For smaller dogs we recommend theDogtra Pathfinder Mini.
The Dogtra Pathfinder is ideal as a tracker and training device for sporting dogs. But it also includes a special geofence feature for use as a GPS-enabled portable dog fence.
The app has some bugs, and some users found the wearable and smartphone combo too bulky for their needs. Still, this is a great option for a dog GPS fence that works anywhere.
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3. PetSafe Wireless Pet Restraint System
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To be frank, thepetsafe wirelessThe pet restraint system is not actually a GPS dog fence. But it is your best choice for a totally wireless one,Residential fence solution.
Instead of GPS satellites, the PetSafe receiver uses radio waves to communicate with compatible collars. These waves tell the receiver how far away each dog is.
The receiver creates a circular border: you can adjust this circle to be between 3 and 50 meters wide. A receiver can communicate with an unlimited number of collars.
If your dog learns quickly and you take the time to train him, you can transport and install this system almost anywhere. It even comes with flags to help with training.
While the PetSafe Pet Containment System works great in the home, it's a great tool for long-term frequent campers. As long as you comply, you can also take the beneficiary to visit family or spend a weekend at the cabin.
Unfortunately, this fence falls prey to the same problems as real dog fence GPS systems. Over time, the fence boundary can become extremely inconsistent.
Users also complain about the number of batteries each collar uses. Also the biggest concern for many dog owners is that the lowest correction setting on the collar is quite strong.
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4. Whistle when exploring
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With today's technology, GPS dog fences are certainly not for everyone. But you should definitely consider investing in a wearable tracker for your four-legged friends.
ANDWhistle on a journey of discoverywill not confine your dog to a specific area. However, what you can do is let him know right away that your dog has left a designated area.
Whether your pup is at home or on the run, you can see its current location with the Whistle smartphone app. Please note that cell service is required to use the app and its features.
Again, the Whistle Go Explore cannot and should not replace a GPS dog fence (or fence of any kind). If your dog strays from your yard or runs away from the dog walker, the device may crashinvaluable.
Since Whistle Go Explore uses GPS and cellular data, you can track your dog's location anywhere in the United States.
The unit has a light that can be easily activated via the smartphone app, making night searches a little easier.
Aside from its GPS tracking capabilities, this device also monitors your dog's activity level and health habits. Yep, like a Fitbit for Fido.
The collar-mounted device relies on a battery for power. The app provides low battery alerts, but if you forget to charge your device in time, it becomes completely useless.
Some users are also reporting false alarms and lagging GPS data from their dogs device, which can be stressful and frustrating.
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5. Tractive LTE GPS-Hundetracker
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ANDTractor LTE GPSDog Tracker is another GPS tracker worth considering.
At first glance, the Tractive LTE GPS Dog Tracker seems to be cheaper than the Whistle Go Explore. Whether this is your case depends on a number of factors.
Of course, you can set custom geofence boundaries with the Tractive LTE GPS dog tracker. When your dog leaves the designated area, a notification will be sent directly to your smart device.
The minimum radius for the geofence is 164 feet, which may be excessive in some situations.
Unlike whistle devices, the tracker works anywhere in the world. It also offers live tracking via your smartphone, with location updates every two to three seconds.
This GPS tracker also monitors your dog's walking speed and altitude, which can be extremely useful when hiking or camping.
The Tractive LTE GPS dog tracker has disappointing battery life, averaging just five days on a full charge. It also lacks health and activity tracking, which some dog owners see as a hindrance.
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Is a dog GPS fence right for your pup?
This is true. GPS-enabled dog fences are an exciting development in the world of consumer technology for pet owners.
If GPS systems replace physical or buried fences, the technology still has a long way to go.
But as long as you understand the limitations of a dog GPS fence, there's no reason why it can't become a powerful tool in your dog training arsenal.
Simply being notified when your dog leaves the safety of your home can save your life. And for most dog owners, that's the biggest selling point of all.
What kind of containment systems do you use when traveling? Have you ever used technology to reunite with a runaway pup? Share your story in the comments below!