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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would like a GPS collar as a safety net and way to provide peace of mind for me without constantly calling the dog (like the ones used by hunters). It needs to work offline, though, since the internet connection is rather poor around the farm. I'd also like it not to be extremely expensive. I know this is a lot, and perhaps unrealistic- but does anyone know if something like that exists? Also, does anyone have experience using a GPS collar/tag that could share about their experience? Do you think that a GPS is overkill and unnecessary for a trained dog?
 

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I know people who use Garmin collars when they go off-leash hiking. They are pretty pricy, though, with some models upwards of $600.
 
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Is the cellular coverage also poor? Many of the options that require a data plan actually use cellular networks rather than wi-fi. We've used Tractive since an incident with Sam a couple years back, and it's worked well for us - but it does require a monthly subscription fee. Our options were limited because many of the popular trackers only serve certain regions (most of them will cover the US) so we needed one that included worldwide coverage. Garmin was high up the list too (FiL has used them for hunting dogs), though the up-front cost meant we went with something else. I does not require a subscription, which might make the high price worth it, but you do have to carry the receiver as an extra device instead of it being hooked up to your phone.
 

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I foster terrified and feral dogs and we make GPS collars for them! I've looked at the ones available, but the problem is that NONE will last for 10-14 days which is how long it likely would take to recapture one of my fosters. They'd be fine with a dog that will come to you though. What we do is buy a small car GPS unit off Amazon. I've left reviews on one with photos of the case attached to the collar. They sell waterproof cases with magnets so you can attach under a car. The cost is 50-$100 for GPS unit, not sure how much for case, a biothane collar, and I think cell service plan was $10-20/mo. That may seem high but the cost of a few hundred color flyers equals a YEAR of cell service. I've had ONE dog escape in 21 years of fostering and I probably spent 10K on trying to recapture it over the 5.5 months she was loose. The entire community helped by calling in sightings and we put out a full large bag of dog food at feeding stations in the area every night. It was the most stressful and horrible situation and I NEVER want to go through it again! With the car GPS, when they escape, you can use your phone or computer to go online and it shows you within 6-12 ft usually where they are. You can also see how they are moving and how much battery you have left. It has saved a Shiba Inu I kept a number of times, because he won't let me catch him and I have to toss treats and sedate him, then get the Irish Wolfhound buddy of his, so he will follow us home LMBO

Basically, hubby takes the magnet off the case, drills two holes in the case and uses a stainless steel screw & nut to attach it. He then covers the holes with some sort of waterproof tape. We charge the unit every 2-3 days because we want it to have at least 10 days charge, if they get loose. We call the company and they can manually put the unit to ping at longer intervals than you can on the app or computer. That conserves the battery. You can still go on the program and decrease the interval if the dog escapes.

Hope this helps...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Is the cellular coverage also poor?
Unfortunately, yes.
@Addctd2Dogs, thanks for that idea, I'll look into it- that's a creative solution. @LeoRose, yeah, I saw those- and I may just bite the figurative bullet and buy one, I like that there's no monthly fee
 

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I was looking around at options out of curiosity since reading this post and saw the Marco Polo - radio frequency so no wifi or cellular coverage necessary, and no subscription necessary. Might be worth looking into, no personal experience but I like the sound of it if it works the way it says it does. Shorter range compared with GPS systems, so that's the major downside.
 

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I was looking around at options out of curiosity since reading this post and saw the Marco Polo - radio frequency so no wifi or cellular coverage necessary, and no subscription necessary. Might be worth looking into, no personal experience but I like the sound of it if it works the way it says it does. Shorter range compared with GPS systems, so that's the major downside.
I've read their description of the battery life several times and it's still not clear to me. They say "with continous tracking" the battery would last 3 days, but then later say if the coller was in monitor mode for 3 weeks and the dog got loose, you'd have a week of battery left. I wish they'd explain this more clearly because the battery life is EVERYTHING when finding a dog!

I do think for my Rat Terrier, who occasionally likes to go on a "walkabout" it would work well. I know she doesn't go far and she'd come to our calling if we were close. For most normal dogs this sounds like a good option. I may try this collar on the Rat Terrier because she is a bad influence on other dogs who like to tag along with her LOL It's only maybe twice a year that she'll take off, but we live in area that the bubba's still shoot dogs in. So, gives me extreme anxiety when she does this. She always comes home by 6 am, but I'm up all night walking the farm and calling for her grr

Thanks for posting about this Marco Polo Collar!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
I was looking around at options out of curiosity since reading this post and saw the Marco Polo - radio frequency so no wifi or cellular coverage necessary, and no subscription necessary. Might be worth looking into, no personal experience but I like the sound of it if it works the way it says it does. Shorter range compared with GPS systems, so that's the major downside.
Thanks so much, I hadn't seen this one in my previous research. Do you- or does anyone else- have a general idea of how far this might reach in wooded areas? (it says 2 mi in open areas)

(after looking into garmin ones, I saw that the cheapest one that included the receiver device was $650USD- not exactly cheap, although they do promise better function in wooded areas)
 

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This is only what I know from a class focusing on WiFi signals (which also use radio frequency radiation) and not from actually working with the device, so take that for what it is.

It seems to work in the 900 MHZ range according to this article, which is a relatively low-frequency band. Lower frequency radio waves are less prone to attenuation (reflecting off surfaces, losing signal through obstacles, etc.) than higher frequency radio waves, so do function better in areas with lots of obstacles and hills and such than, say, your household wifi router does. It seems to actually be the best possible bandwidth to use in terms of how well it handles obstacles (if I understand this article right), but that doesn't mean it's entirely unaffected by them. This is definitely a case where I'd take full advantage of the 30 day return policy and do some testing to make sure I understood how it worked in different terrains and when using different modes (especially with how they impact power consumption).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
This is only what I know from a class focusing on WiFi signals (which also use radio frequency radiation) and not from actually working with the device, so take that for what it is.

It seems to work in the 900 MHZ range according to this article, which is a relatively low-frequency band. Lower frequency radio waves are less prone to attenuation (reflecting off surfaces, losing signal through obstacles, etc.) than higher frequency radio waves, so do function better in areas with lots of obstacles and hills and such than, say, your household wifi router does. It seems to actually be the best possible bandwidth to use in terms of how well it handles obstacles (if I understand this article right), but that doesn't mean it's entirely unaffected by them. This is definitely a case where I'd take full advantage of the 30 day return policy and do some testing to make sure I understood how it worked in different terrains and when using different modes (especially with how they impact power consumption).
Thanks so much!
 
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