No farm is complete without a working dog or two. They are more than pets—they are protectors of your livestock, yard and family. While farm dogs have more room to roam than most dogs, that won’t stop some breeds from thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.
If you don’t want to spend hours improving your fencing just to keep your dog inside, there is a smarter solution. Smart dog collars can track your dog in real-time from an app on your phone. So if your dog leaves your property, you’ll be able to follow and find him.
Smart Dog Collars Track Location, Health & More
Smart dog collars use GPS to track your dog’s location. The collar has a built-in SIM card just like the one you have in your phone. The SIM card connects to your local cell towers and sends data to the smart collar’s app.
While the main reason you would have a GPS dog collar is to track your dog’s location, you can also use one to monitor your dog’s health. Depending on the model you choose, your smart dog collar will monitor your dog’s activity levels, sleep patterns and heart rate.
It can help with training your dog by creating virtual boundaries on your property. And some models have lights and sound you can use to let your dog know they have ventured too far away from home.
Here are two smart dog collars you can use to keep a roaming livestock guardian or the family dog on your property.
Cost: Around $50 plus a monthly subscription
Tractive GPS dog tracker is popular thanks to its low initial cost and real-time GPS tracking. Tractive is a lightweight tag that attaches to your dog’s collar. It’s waterproof so if your dog heads into the pond for a dip, your Tractive will still work.
Tractive uses GPS and can track in real-time, so if your dog does leave the yard all you have to do is tap ‘Live’ in the app and you can connect with your dog’s collar. You can watch as they move from place to place, and the device will let you know how fast they are moving.
Tractive costs around $50 and you’ll need a subscription plan to use real-time tracking. The subscription costs between $4.99 per month up to $9.99 per month depending on the level of tracking you’d like.
One of the best parts of Tractive GPS is the virtual boundaries. You can set one or more boundaries around your property and give the boundary a name. When the dog leaves the boundary, you’ll get a notification on your phone that says. “Duke left the front yard.” You can add several boundaries if you have a dog that’s determined to roam, so you’ll know when they move from one to the other.
If your dog leaves the virtual boundary and you want to let them know they need to head back, Tractive has a built-in alarm and light you can turn on. It’s a great training tool because some dogs respond to the sound of the alarm and will head straight home.
One of the only downsides to Tractive is the battery life. The latest models of Tractive are said to have 2 to 5 days of battery life, but reviews indicate the average battery life ranges in the 24-hour to 36-hour mark. You can save on battery by using battery-saving mode and setting up a zone that connects the collar to your Wi-Fi network when your dog is nearby. You can also turn off your live tracking mode when you know you don’t need it.
Whistle Go Explore
Cost: Around $80 to $200 plus subscription
Whistle Go Explore is a lot like Tractive, but this smart dog collar has a few unique features. Whistle Go Explore is also a tag that attaches to your dog’s collar. You can choose to buy just the tag or a tag that’s already attached to a collar.
There are different tags for dogs of different sizes.
Whistle Go Explore tracks your dog in real-time using GPS. You can set a safe place where your pet is free to roam, and it will let you know if the dog has left that area. The collar connects to the ATT network and you can use Google Maps to track them with 15-second updates.
Whistle Go Explore is waterproof and can track a lot of health issues your dog may have. It will monitor whether the dog is scratching a lot, whether they have a skin infection or allergies, or monitor for signs of joint pain. Whistle Go Explore also has extended battery life.
Depending on usage, the battery can last up to 20 days.
Whistle Go Explore has a longer battery life than Tractive, but users of Whistle Go Explore have reported an actual average battery life of seven to 10 days. One of the reasons for that is you may use more battery if you’re in an area with poor cell reception, as the collar will use more power to connect.
The monthly cost of a Whistle Go Explore dog collar subscription is around $6.95 per month.
Should You Use a GPS Tracker on Your Dog?
Many of us consider our livestock guardian dogs to be beloved members of our farm family. They play a vital role in keeping our livestock and property safe. Ensuring they stay within their designated boundaries is important.
A smart dog collar is a good solution if your dog has the urge to roam. It doesn’t stop them from leaving as effectively as an invisible fence would. But you’ll have peace of mind knowing you can open your phone and find out exactly where they are.