GPS Dog Tracker
Why should you consider a dog tracker ? Being members of many hiking and walking groups on Facebook, we hear lots of horrible stories where owners dogs have gone missing. Over the summer months, I’ve personally read about 3 such occurrences, and each one is heartbreaking. However, I must mention that the effort that the hiking and walking community put into searching for and finding our missing ‘friends’ is also very heartwarming and commendable.
We have a beagle puppy called Elsie and this breed of dog can be notoriously bad to train. They can be very difficult to get to return to their owner once they get a sniff of something more interesting, and to be honest when you are a beagle, everything else is more interesting.
Before anyone says that lack of recall is down to bad training then we suggest they probably get themselves a beagle and try it first hand. We have Sprocker spaniel puppy that we got as a friend for the Beagle and to try and help with the training. Even at 12 weeks old we can get the Sprocker to come Back to us for a treat, but not the beagle (who is also still a pup).
Now we all understand that in order for a GPS dog tracker to function you need to have GPS signal (and mobile signal for live tracking), and in rural parts of the country that can be non-existent. However these little guys are members of the family, so the slightest chance of finding them and getting them back home safe has certainly got to be worth it.
There are a number of pet tracking devices on the UK market and we took the decision to give the Tractive GPS tracker a try as it seems reasonably priced. It also seemed very robust and would suit our needs more than its competitors. It did have some positive and negative reviews, but we thought that we would give it a thorough testing and tell you guys all about our honest findings so you can make a more informed decision.
WHAT’S IN THE BOX?
When you open the Tractive box, you will see a white pill (the dog tracker) which is attached to the dogs collar via a clip (two are included). Also included is a charger so you can so you can keep the tracker fully charged at all times. Here’s the unboxing video >> https://youtu.be/Yv3DlvoAxy0
THE GPS TRACKER
There are many cheap so-called GPS trackers available on eBay and Amazon but nearly all of these only work via Bluetooth. That means that they only track over a very limited range of 100m or less. This is no good if your dog has escaped and is way out of your sight, and reach of your phones Bluetooth – AVOID THEM.
The Tractive dog tracker works off GPS, where satellites around the globe can pinpoint your dogs location (same as TOMTOM SATNAV). It can also be operated in real time (live tracking) via the mobile phone app, so you can see where your dog is at that moment and go find them. We’ve done a video on this and you can see live-tracking working here >> https://youtu.be/-ETetSTyyRI
There is a button on the front of the tracker, next to an LED. One long press on the the button either turns it on or off. Then LED will either show red (off) or green (on). When it is on, the LED will blink white to show that it is active.
THE MOBILE APP
The Tractive app is available for free from the Google Play and Apple App Stores. We’ve done a video showing how to set up the app and register your pet.
We found it to be very easy to set up and register, you will need to then decide which level of subscription (service plan) you require. There are three levels, BASIC, PREMIUM and PREMIUM with Tractive CARE. We just have the BASIC subscription which costs £3.33 per month. The other subscriptions give more information and retain ‘position history’ for longer than the 24hrs on the BASIC.
Once the app is set up, then you are ready to go. It’s quite quick and painless.
Another useful feature of this particular tracking device is that you can set up a virtual safety zone, whereby if the animal leaves that location then you get a notification. This could be set up to be around your home or anywhere where the dog should be staying.
We’ve taken Elsie out on many walks with the Tractive fitted before we wrote anything about it. Testing it in the real world is the most important thing, and we wanted to give an unbiased and honest review of our experiences so you can make a more informed decision.
Our experiences with this dog tracker have been very positive and I have not worries about recommending it for use on your valued companion(s). However, like all responsible owners, you shouldn’t rely solely on any pet tracking device as it is not a substitute for putting the effort in to knowing and training your dog.
1 – How robust is the Tractive?
The clip arrangement on the tracker is much stronger than it looks looks. I feel that it would be very difficult for it to come off the dog by accident. Elsie (like most dogs) loves trees and sniffing around bushes, and we have had no problems with it coming loose or getting tangled on branches. Elsie and George love to play fight with each other when out, and they don’t hold back. There is a lot of running, rolling around, knocking each other over and close-quarters ‘ruff-n-tumble’ and the Tractive has remained securely in place on the collar throughout all of this
2 – How water resistant is the Tractive?
Although Elsie doesn’t venture into deep water (yet), we recently had some very heavy and deep snow that the dogs enjoyed playing in. On 4 of occasions now, the Tractive has been soaking wet from snow or rain and has continued to operate without any problems. When I’ve taken the Tractive off Elsie, it has been soaking wet on the outside, but working fine and just needing a wipe off ready for the next adventure.
3 – How accurate is the Tractive?
From our tests, we have found the Tractive to be accurate to within a few metres. With regard to the ‘Live-Tracking’, sometimes it can lag a little. It sometimes takes 30 seconds to a minute to catch up to the actual location, but on the whole it has been very accurate and provides very useful information.
When I started writing this article, I stated that we would never let Elsie off her lead because of advice we had been given about the nature of her breeds (Beagle) temperament.
Well, things have changed slightly – Since testing the Tractive tracker, it has given us the confidence to let Elsie off her lead and train her to come back (recall). We are training Elsie to improve her ‘recall’ by getting her to go and come back when we call her and rewarding her with treats. Having the Tractive on her gives us the confidence to let her off the lead (to train her), knowing that if she does decide to disappear then we have a much better chance of finding her.
Watching her and George running and playing together is a great reward for the effort we continue to put into their training. So for that alone, we have to thank Tractive.
Here is a video of one of our walks/talks, giving a little more insight into the Tractive tracker and how it may help you with your dog > https://youtu.be/vQnxmu3KllA
Unboxing Tractive > https://youtu.be/Yv3DlvoAxy0
Installing the Tractive app > https://youtu.be/evBxEyPPpk0
Setting up app > uploading soon.
Out walking with the Tractive > https://youtu.be/vQnxmu3KllA
Tracking the dog with Tractive > https://youtu.be/-ETetSTyyRI
WHERE TO BUY