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Although all dog trackers essentially do the same thing, they come in many varieties.
Dog GPS trackers obviously use GPS but there are trackers that don’t, and trackers that use a combination of GPS and radio technology.
In addition, many dog trackers incorporate functions other than tracking.
A two-part dog tracker feature
In the first section we look at how trackers work, what features they offer and what to look for when buying a tracker.
In the second section we reveal what, in our opinion, are the best dog trackers available.
If you’re already familiar with the tech and tracker features you can jump to:
A plethora of dog trackers
There are dozens of dog trackers on the market and trying to find the one that best suits you and your dog is no easy task. As ever, knowledge is power and that’s what we aim to give you here.
Some ‘trackers’ do little more than monitor your dog’s location while others have many additional sophisticated and useful features.
The best dog tracker ever!
In this round up we’ve selected what we believe are the best dog trackers you can buy today.
If you want an absolute BEST BUY, unfortunately there isn’t one – and beware of anyone who says there is – because different trackers will suit different people in different locations and with different requirements. If you take that into account, All the trackers here are BEST BUYS!
And we DO suggest the type of users the trackers will likely appeal to.
Dog wireless technology
Before we get started, if you’re not completely sure about the difference between GPS, wireless, cellular and WiFi, you might like to browse Dog tech wireless communication explained.
Right! Let’s put our noses to the ground and get tracking!
What is a dog tracker?
A dog tracker is a device that, er, tracks dogs 🙂
They’re like the devices you see in spy movies where someone places a tracking device in a car or a pocket and back at HQ you see movements on screen or as a dot on a map.
Dog tracks are obviously useful if your dog has a habit of escaping your yard or garden, but they’re also useful when walking in case your dog wanders off and gets lost or perhaps has an accident.
Lost dog statistics
Statistics vary from country to country but according to the American Humane Association, one in three pets (which includes cats and other pets) will get lost at some point in their lives.
Not all are reported and many are subsequently found but the anguish during the time they are missing is terrible. I know from experience when Murphy got lost in France.
Murphy was never an escapologist but some people have proper Harry Hound Houdinis. Jack Russells seem to know a lot of the tricks.
How do dog trackers work?
Most, but not all, dog trackers use GPS (Global Positioning System), much like your car’s SatNav and the Google and Apple maps on your mobile phone.
For GPS to work, the system needs access to the satellite system which effectively covers the world but it’s not going to work underground or in shielded buildings, and coverage might be sporadic in heavily built-up areas, densely wooded areas and mountainous regions.
Most, but again not all, trackers then use a cellular network to relay the position of the tracker to your mobile phone. Obviously, both the tracker and your phone need to be connected to a mobile network so, again, poor reception areas may cause problems.
Some trackers avoid these problems by using radio signals rather than GPS. These have advantages over GPS but also disadvantages which we’ll get into in a moment.
The difference between a microchip and a tracker
Having discussed how trackers work, at this point it’s important to explain the difference between a tracker and a microchip.
When you get your dog ‘chipped’, the vet inserts a small passive radio device (it has no battery) about the size of a grain of rice under the dog’s skin, usually between their shoulders. It’s a safe procedure that requires no anaesthetic and the dog usually doesn’t feel a thing – it’s about the same as getting a vaccination.
The microchip is programmed with useful information, particularly your name and contacts details. It can be read by a special scanner which most vets and shelters have. If your dog is lost and is taken to a shelter, the chip will tell them how to contact you. Yay!
However, do check with your vet because in some countires there may be more than one type of scanner in use.
Why you MUST get your dog micro chipped
A dog tracker will be of little use if your dog is lost and handed in to a shelter if the tracker’s battery is flat (although they do last for several days) or if it becomes detached from or is removed from your dog’s collar. Most fit very securely but it’s still a possibility.
Also, should your dog be stolen, the thieves can easily remove a tracker.
Hence the necessity for a microchip.
The benefits of a dog tracker
Unlike a microchip, a dog tracker is an active location device with its own internal battery worn on your dog’s collar. It uses a cellular network or radio to send its location to a receiver – usually an app on your phone.
If your dog goes AWOL from your garden or on a walk, a tracker can pinpoint their location which can’t be done with a microchip.
Dog theft prevention
In a worst case scenario, if your dog is stolen, the thief can easily remove a tracker, should their little mind have the gumption.
They cannot know if your dog has been micro chipped unless they have the correct scanner. Pinpointing the chip’s position is not straightforward and removal requires a small but precise surgical procedure by a vet.
The thief is unlikely to attempt this as the vet would scan the chip beforehand. And if the thief hopes to sell the dog, the resulting scar, though small, would send warning signs to a potential buyer
So, if your dog is lost or stolen but then recovered, a microchip is the best bet for reuniting dog and owner.
Everyone should have their dog chipped, even if they never ever run away or get lost. You never know…
Virtual fences and safe zones
Virtual fences are also called invisible fences, geofences, safe zones or safe places.
All trackers let you define an area around your location or on a map, and if your dog strays outside that area, the tracker sends an alert, usually to your phone.
That means your dog has moved outside the boundary you set for them and then you can use the tracker locator to find them.
GPS – cellular subscription
You don’t need a mobile subscription to use a SatNav. A dog tracker can access GPS data for free BUT you may need a cellular subscription to allow it to transmit the tracker’s position to your phone.
Not all trackers require a cellular subscription but they have a shorter location range although that may not matter depending on your circumstances.
A subscription is an additional cost on top of the tracker itself and something you need to budget for.
Most tracker suppliers offer cheaper deals the longer you subscribe for but if you only want to use it twice a year when you go hiking with your dog, you may want to see if a month-by-month option is available.
Also, be aware that although companies may refund the cost of the tracker if it’s unsuitable, many have a very short window of cancellation for the cellular subscription.
If the tracker uses GPS and transmits its location via a mobile phone network, as long as there are connections for these you can track your dog over any distance, even on the other side of the globe (although not all trackers have worldwide coverage).
Trackers which use radio signals have a more limited range, depending on the strength of the radio signals, but it’s typically 2-3 miles. However, they can be used anywhere as GPS and cellular coverage are not required.
GPS tracking vs Live tracking
All trackers have a live tracking mode – they’d be pretty useless without it! – which updates the tracker’s position every few seconds. This is very power-intensive and the more often it updates, the more power it uses.
If your dog is in a safe zone you probably won’t want or need to track him every few seconds so most trackers have a GPS tracking or monitor mode which updates less frequently at an interval usually specified in minutes which conserves battery power.
Because a tracker tracks your dog’s movements some trackers include an activity monitoring system to check your dog’s level of rest and activity.
Some also keep a history of where you dog has been. Sometimes it’s interesting to know 🙂
These are nice extras but the features are not as sophisticated as a dedicated activity monitor such as the FitBark 2.
Waterproof or water-resistant?
The waterproofness (if that wasn’t a word, it is now!) of devices are rated by a standard known as IP which standards for Ingress Protection or International Protection.
The important thing is the IP number. If a tracker is water resistant or waterproof, it will likely have one o these ratings:
- IP65 indicates a device is dust-proof and is protected from low pressure water jets from any direction. Essentially, it’s what we might call water-resistant, useful when cleaning your dog as long as you’re careful. Not suitable for swimming and of limited protection splashing through puddles.
- IP67 and IPX7 afford the same level of water protection and indicate a device is waterproof to a depth of 1 meter (3 feet) for a duration of up to 30 minutes. This should be fine for crossing rivers and streams and moderate swimming adventures.
Size is everything
Okay, size may not always be everything but it’s certainly important in a tracker, along with weight, if you are a small dog.
Most trackers are around 2″ or a little less at their widest, and weigh around 1oz (but check individual specs) so you need to take these into account to ensure your dog will be comfortable wearing it and carrying it around.
Battery life is probably the biggest niggle users complain about. Battery life is typically measured in days (although some do last much longer) and when you compare it to the FitBark 2, for example, with a battery life of up to 6 months, it may seem short but a tracker is doing a lot more.
If you consider that trackers are mini phones which are on 24/7, the batteries generally do a good job.
Just like your mobile phone, a tracker’s battery life depends on several factors including GPS and cellular signal strength, terrain, and frequency of position updates. Even the temperature can affect battery life.
The biggest battery drainer is using live tracking mode. It’s fun to do this from time to time but you really won’t want to leave it in live tracking mode if it’s not necessary.
In short, the more work it has to do, the faster the battery will run down.
Battery charging routine
If your dog wears the tracker constantly – as they should if there is any chance of them escaping – then you need to realise that you’ll have to charge it regularly.
Many trackers only take 1-2 hours to charge.
What to look for when buying a dog tracker
With so many features on so many units, what do you need to consider when selecting the best dog tracker for you and your dog?
Here are the main 6 features and functions you need to consider:
1 -Virtual fences and safe zones
All trackers have these and send out an alert when your dog leaves a specified area.
However, some trackers only offer a circular or square zone around the phone or location device while others let you customise the shape of the area. Would you need to customise your safe zone?
Some trackers also let you define multiple zones. Would that be useful for you?
2 – Do you need all the bells and whistles?
If the sole purpose of having a tracker is to find your dog when he runs off or gets lost, you may not need features such as an activity monitor or location history.
Decide how useful features above and beyond tracking would be.
3 – Tracker tech
This is vitally important. If you want a GPS system, does the terrain you live or walk in have good access to GPS satellites and is there a good cellular connection?
Some trackers only work with certain cellular networks. If that’s the case, you should make sure there is good coverage in your area.
For clarification, your mobile phone does not have to use the same network as the tracker – it can use any one.
If you don’t want to rely on GPS or a phone, there are self-contained trackers, and trackers that use a phone but don’t require a subscription.
4 – Waterproof
This should probably be an essential feature. Even dry areas get rain and have puddles.
All our top picks are waterproof.
5 – Tracking update frequency
The more often a tracker transmits a signal, the faster the battery will run down. If a tracker allows you to change the update period, you can reduce it when you know your dog is safe at home to preserve battery life, and increase it when they’re in the garden or yard.
Depending on your circumstances, this may be a useful feature.
Also, the update frequency when in live tracker mode varies, too. Some update every 2-3 seconds while some only update once every 30 or 60 seconds. If your dog’s a runner, you may prefer faster updates. If your dog hides, that may not be so essential.
6 – Battery life
Although battery technology has improved greatly over the last decade or two, and although we’ve been promised even better and more efficient batteries (and they will undoubtedly come, particularly as manufacturers improve electric car battery technology), battery life is still a major concern.
Our top dog trackers
Now that we’re familiar with the main features you find in trackers, it’s time to look at our Top Picks!
Name: Tractive GPS
Range: unlimited (depending on GPS and network coverage)
Live tracking update: 2-3 seconds
Battery life: 2-5 days
Battery recharge: 2 hours
Weight: 35g (1.2oz)
Size: 51 x 41 x 15mm (2.0 x 1.6 x 0.6in)
Features: LED night light
Apps: Apple, Android, Computer or Mobile browser
Warranty: 1 year
There are three Tractive trackers with essentially the same features. We’ll look at the most popular one first and then note the differences in the other two.
The Tractive GPS is recommended for pets above 4.5kg (9lbs). It attaches to the dog’s collar with clips so it can be easily removed for charging.
The SIM in the tracker is non-exchangeable and enables communication between the tracker and your phone. There is also a web app if you want to monitor on a computer.
The update frequency depends on the level of your dog’s activity from every few minutes in monitor mode to 2-3 seconds in live tracking mode.
You can activate an LED on the tracker from the app if you are tracking your dog at night.
The app also warns you when the battery level drops to 10%.
Tractive virtual fences
You can define up to five virtual fences with the Tractive app. They can be either circular or rectangular and you can name them.
This video shows how to set one up.
The Tractive GPS Hunters Edition
The Tractive GPS Hunters Edition is identical to the GPS version but comes with a special casing for ‘hunting and camouflage’.
One of the concerns with trackers is that they might come away from the collar or even break if your dog is running through rough terrain. The standard GPS tracker should be fine for most walks and hikes but if you are expecting to take your dog through rough country, this is worth considering.
Not sure how much the camouflage feature will fool anything, attached as it will be to a dog thundering towards them! But it does look cool 🙂
The Tractive GPS XL Edition
Weight: 142g (5oz)
Battery life: up to 6 weeks
Battery recharge: 9 hours
Size: 80 x 49 x 29mm (3.1 x 1.9 x 1.1in)
The Tractive GPS XL is recommended for dogs over 20kg (40lbs). The main advantage is the increased battery life, and it’s well worth considering because of that but it is larger and heavier than the other ones.
Do make sure that it will not be too big or heavy for your dog.
Also, note that the recharging time is 9 hours.
Tractive subscription plans
Tractive has a Basic and a Premium subscription plan with options to pay monthly, yearly or two-yearly. The longer you subscribe for, the cheaper it is. The subscriptions are among the lowest for this type of tracker.
The Premium subscription offers additional features such as worldwide coverage, unlimited location history, and the ability to access the tracker through multiple accounts so you can share your dog’s location with friends and family.
Tractive will work in most countries:
Check your in-country Tractive coverage
Tractive – Summary
- Can be used worldwide
- Fast updates in live tracker mode
- Quickly recharges
- Web app for computer use
- LED for night tracking
- 5 virtual fences
- Hunters Edition has extra tough case
- Tractive XL has a phenomenal battery life
- Requires a subscription
- Premium subscription required to unlock all services
- Tractive XL requires overnight charge
Tractive is suitable for users who…
- Have good GPS and cellular network connections
- Like to use their smart phone
- Like to monitor on their computer
- Want to share their dog’s data with friends (Premium subscription only)
Range: up to 3 miles (4.8km) depending on surroundings
Battery life: up to 7 days
Weight: 21g (0.74oz)
Size: 2 x 2 x 0.5ins (5 x 5 x 1.3cm)
Features: History and activity monitor
Apps: Apple, Android
Findster Duo+’s major feature is that it doesn’t require a subscription!
How does it do that?
It does use GPS tracking (which is free, just like your SatNav) but then it uses a direct signal to communicate with your phone so you don’t need a network contract. In fact, it will work even if your phone doesn’t have a mobile network signal!
This does limit its range so you couldn’t track your dog from work if you work a few miles away, or when you’re on holiday. But then, would you want to? That’s a question only you an answer but some people do find keeping tabs on their dog is quite addictive 🙂
For walks and adventures when you and your pal are out together, you may think the range is more than adequate.
Findster’s range obstructions
It’s important to note that the range can vary enormously depending on your surroundings. Findster suggests that in a built-up urban environment you can expect a range of at least 0.5 mile (0.8km). However, in open country you might get even more than 3 miles.
The questions to ask yourself are: in what sort of environment will you be walking your dog, and how far away do you usually get from each other?
My dogs were probably never more than 100 yards away max, even on long beaches and open commons. Excluding Murphy’s French adventure, although I suspect he was never more than a few hundred yards away at any time.
This is something you need to consider, along with your dog’s propensity for escaping which might take him outside an active radius.
Findster’s battery life
The battery life is quoted as up to 7 days but, as with all such devices, it depends on several factors.
With live tracking on, it will typically last about 12 hours but, hopefully, it wouldn’t take you that long to find your lost dog.
If you switch it to live tracking for, say, two 30-minute walks a day, it should last around 3 days. If you do longer walks – yay! – then the battery life will shorten accordingly.
If you never switch live tracking on, then you get your 7 days.
Findster’s virtual fence
Using the Findster app, you can define an area around your dog’s position and Findster will notify you if he leaves that space. It can be an irregular area, so ideal for odd-shaped gardens or ‘fencing off’ a common or wooded area that you walk in.
Findster’s additional features
The app has a radar function which shows the distance from your dog and how to reach them.
Findster’s history feature records where your dog has been.
It also monitors your dog’s activity in areas such as speed and distance, resting and calories used.
There are goal-setting options such as completing walks of a certain distance or duration. You can compare your dog’s activity (such as speed and distance travelled) with other Findster users on a leader board.
You can also share your dog’s information with friends and family.
Findster on camera
Here’s a useful video highlighting the main features of the Findster Duo+.
The Findster Duo+ is more expensive than most GPS trackers although when you factor in the cost of a 2-year GPS subscription there’s not much to choose between them and, of course, you save every year after that.
Findster – Summary
- No subscription
- Good battery life
- History log
- Tracks activity
- Goal-setting options
- Share data with friends
- Initially more expensive than GPS trackers (but cost soon reclaimed)
- Limited range
Findster is suitable for users who…
- Don’t want to be tied into a subscription
- Would like history, activity and goal-setting features
- Want to share their dog’s data with friends
Findster Duo_ USA
Findster Duo+ Canada
Findster Duo+ Australia
Name: Weenect Dogs 2
Range: unlimited (depending on GPS and network coverage)
Battery life: 4-7 days
Weight: 25gm (0.88oz)
Size: 58 x 23 x 10mm (1.96 x 0.78 x 0.39in)
Features: Training/Voice Call (10mins/month)
Apps: Apple, Android, web app
Warranty: 2 years
The Weenect Dog 2 is a traditional GPS tracker in that it readers the tracker’s position via GPS and requires a subscription. However, it has a couple of interesting features not usually found on a tracker.
Talk to your dog
The tracker itself contains a miniature speaker which allows you to talk to your dog!
It gives a new meaning to the phrase ‘dog and bone’ (in case you’re not a native Londoner, that’s cockney rhyming slang for ‘phone’! 🙂
You only get 10 minutes of voice calls to your dog per month so its use is rather limited but it could be useful if used in conjunction with the ringer/vibrator feature.
Pavlov’s dogs – that rings a bell
It’s quite a few articles ago since I succumbed to a joke, however feeble, so this is long overdue 🙂
If you want the nitty gritty you can read about Pavlov’s dogs here.
In a nutshell, he conditioned them to expect food whenever he rang a bell.
You can trigger a ringer on the Weenect tracker from the phone app, which is intended to be used as a recall signal.
It’s based on Pavlov’s conditioning experiment and Weenect suggest you use a similar principle to train your dog to expect food when they heard the ringer and so will return home for their dinner.
If you want to see it in action, here’s a really cute video.
Tracking your dog
The Weenect app has a map, compass, augmented reality and itinerary functions to help you find your dog. The tracker sends your phone an alert if your dog moves out of range.
It also has an activity tracker so you can see how much exercise and sleep your dog is getting.
As with all GPS trackers, battery life depends on the factors we discussed earlier, and the Weenect alerts you when the battery charge is getting low.
Weenect has one- and two-year subscription plans along with a Freedom monthly plan with no commitment.
Subscription costs are in the middle of the range for GPS/cellular trackers.
The two-year plan offers a considerable saving over monthly payments.
Weenect – summary
- Good battery life
- Activity tracker
- Unlimited range
- Training ringer
- Voice calling
- 2-year warranty
- Requires a subscription
- Not the cheapest subscription plan
Weenect is suitable for users who…
- Have good GPS and cellular network connections
- Like to use their smart phone
- Would also like some activity tracking
Buy directly from Weenect.
Name: Whistle 3
Tech: GPS, WiFi
Range: USA only
Battery life: 2-7 days
Battery recharge: 2 hours
Weight: 26gm (0.92 oz)
Size: (1.82 x 1.45 x 0.61 inches)
Features: Multiple and customisable safe places
Apps: Apple, Android
Warranty: 3 years. 90-day trial period
The Whistle 3 only works in the USA with America’s AT&T cellular network. That is the network the tracker works with – you can use any cellular network with your smart phone – but you need good AT&T coverage in your house and your area to make sure the tracker will function well.
The company does have plans for taking it abroad but at the time of writing it’s America only.
All this and WiFi, too
While the Whistle 3 is a GPS tracker it also requires a WiFi connection for uploading activity and location data which you can then review on your smart phone. The activity is measured with an accelerometer.
When connected to WiFi, the Whistle 3 goes into power save mode to preserve battery life. It assumes your dog is safe when there is a WiFi connection and you cannot track your dog in this mode.
When your dog is beyond WiFi range the GPS system kicks in.
GPS refresh rate and tracking interval
When not connected to WiFi, the Whistle 3 defaults to a GPS refresh rate of 6 minutes. You can shorten this and lengthen the interval. The shorter the interval, the quicker you will be notified if your dog leaves a safe place but the more power it will use.
If you dog has escaped or you need to track him, you tap the Track button and the system will then send you one-minute updates for the next 30 minutes. This interval is not adjustable. Obviously, this uses more battery.
A minute might seem reasonable and if your dog is a moocher and a sniffer that may well be fine but if he’s a runner, you may want a tracker than updates more quickly.
You can set up multiple safe places and Whistle 3 will notify you every time your dog leaves and returns to a safe place.
Few people have exactly circular or rectangular gardens or yards so you can customize the shape of a safe place by dragging four corners on the map.
The uncertainty circle
If you have used any kind of GPS device you will know that the accuracy can vary considerably, depending on the many factors we discussed earlier.
Thoughtfully, if the Whistle 3 is having difficulty getting a precise location, it puts a light blue ‘uncertainty circle’ around your dog’s approximate position. The size depends on – yes, you guessed – the factors which can affect communication.
When it pinpoints the location, the circle will vanish.
The Whistle 3 is considered suitable for dogs over 3.6kg (8lbs).
A collar attachment fixes to your dog’s collar with rubber bands and you click the tracker into it, twisting it to lock it in place.
Whistle 3 battery life
Like all these devices, the Whistle 3’s battery life depends on many factors. However, if you have a good WiFi signal this will increase battery life when the tracker is in range.
Poor AT&T coverage will decrease battery life.
The app notifies you when the battery charge drops to 20%. Charging is via a USB connection and you get notified when the battery is fully charged.
You can invite friends and family to view your dog’s location and activity.
The activity monitor tracks rest and activity periods so you can make sure your dog is getting enough of each.
Whistle 3’s three-year warranty and trial period
The Whistle 3 comes with a very impressive three-year warranty.
The company also offers a 90-day trial period during which time you can return it for a refund PLUS a pro rata refund on your subscription. While other trackers may offer a so-many-day refund on the hardware, many subscriptions have a very short 7-14-day refund period.
There are conditions, of course, the main one being that you buy from Whistle’s web store.
Whistle 3 – summary
- Multiple safe zones
- Customisable safe zones
- Uncertainty circle
- Activity monitor
- WiFi connection saves battery power
- Quick recharging
- Friends can share your dog’s data
- 30year warranty
- 90-day trial period
- Pro rata subscription refund
- Only works in the USA
- Requires good AT&T coverage
- Requires a WiFi connection
- Requires subscription
- Subscription not the cheapest
- 1-minute track rate
- Rubber band connection to collar
Whistle 3 is suitable for users who…
- Are in the USA in areas with good AT&T coverage
- Want confirmation of suitability before committing
- Would like activity monitoring
- Need multiple safe zone
- Need customisable safe zones
- Want to share their dog’s data with friends
Eureka Products’ Marco Polo
Name: Marco Polo
Manufacturer: Eureka Products
Range: up to 3.2km (2 miles)
Live trackig update: 5 seconds
Battery life: 3 days – 6 weeks
Weight: 22gm (0.8oz)
Features: Self-contained system
Warranty: 90 days
In Track mode, the handheld locator sends out a signal every 5 seconds. The dog’s tag contains a transceiver which hears the signal and sends out a response. This allows the locator to determine the bearing which it shows on the LCD display. As you follow the arrow the signal strength gets stronger and the display shows you getting closer.
When not in Track mode, the locator is in Monitor mode. It ‘pings’ the tag every 40 seconds and alerts you if your dog has strayed outside the safe zone.
It also warns if the tag battery is getting low. You can leave the locator plugged in, in a suitable location in your house for recharging when in Monitor mode.
Mapped out or not
The Marco Polo locator works like a radar set and, unlike most other tracker systems, does not show the location of your dog on a map.
However, as you may have experienced, GPS systems usually have a degree of error in pinpointing the exact location, perhaps by up to 10 or 15 feet. The Marco Polo aims to pinpoint the exact location of the tag.
Here’s a short promo video which shows the unit and how it works:
And if you want a longer sales-oriented video:
The more the merrier
You can pair the locator with up to three tags enabling you to jeep track up three dogs or other pets.
The company also promotes the system as a way to recover lost drones and rockets so you could use one tag for your dog and another for your hobby!
Many years ago, I lost a rocket in a field of short grass and it could only have been about 50 yards away. Very frustrating. I would have loved this then.
You can set different boundaries for each tag.
The boundaries work in terms of signal strength:
- Near <60% signal strength. Suitable for small homes or confined areas.
- Medium <40% signal strength. The default setting suitable for most two-story homes with a medium yard or garden.
- Far <20% signal strength. Suitable for homes with very large yards or gardens with obstructions that might block the signal.
- Max No signal. The tag must be so far away from the locator that there is no signal and then the alarm is activated. Use for very large areas or urban settings where the signal may be blocked.
The boundary, therefore, is arranged around the locator.
You may have gathered from how the system works that it’s likely that the signal will be stronger through the front of a house into a garden than it will travelling through two rooms heading out back and through a shed so that’s something to bear in mind when siting the locator.
Getting attached to Marco
The tag slips into a cloth bag that attaches to your dog’s collar with four Velcro straps which hold it securely. The bag can be washed and replaced if it becomes unusable.
It requires a collar length of at least 7″ so should fit all but the very smallest of dogs but do take into account he 8ox weight, too.
The locator can track up to three tags so if you have 2 or 3 dogs, you just need to buy additional tags.
As the system does not use GPS or a cellular network, it can be used anywhere.
But as it does not use a phone app for tracking you may not normally carry it around with you to be notified of a missing dog. There are two accessories to help.
- The first is a battery-powered external alarm unit that plugs into the locator and makes a much louder noise which can be heard throughout the house and which would probably wake you up.
- The second is a phone dialler that connects to a landline and which will ring up to four pre-programmed numbers and play a voice recording that you made. It can call any number including mobile phones.
Marco Polo’s range
The unit’s 2 mile range assumes an uninterrupted line of sight. As with all these devices, obstructions will reduce its range and accuracy.
Over undulating terrain with undergrowth the range could be about ½ mile. Environments such as dense woods or a built-up urban location will also affect the signal.
Marco Polo’s battery life
If the unit stays in Monitor mode – if your dog is safe and doesn’t wander off – the dog’s tag should last for 6 weeks. The locator will alert you that it needs charging after 4-5 weeks.
If you are tracking your dog continuously, the tag will run for around 3 days. Hopefully enough time to catch him! 🙂
Marco Polo – made of tough stuff
If you haven’t had enough Marco Polo videos yet, there’s one on the Marco Polo page on Amazon in the Related Video Shorts section (half way down the page), of a man running his car over the tracker tag! Tough stuff, indeed!
All Marco Polo information is here
Interestingly, you can download the manuals from the website so if you need to check on a feature before buying, you can sounload Marco Polo Pet Docs.
Marco Polo the explorer? No!
You may think the unit is named after Marco Polo the famous explorer. Apparently it’s not.
It’s named after a swimming pool game which I confess I haven’t heard of, which entails following a shout to tag another player.
So now you know.
Marco Polo – Summary
- Stand alone system
- No subscription
- GPS not required
- Mobile phone not required
- Can be used anywhere
- Excellent battery life
- Fast updates in Track mode
- Pinpoint accurate tracking
- One unit can track up to three dogs (you need to buy additional tags)
- It looks way cool! 🙂
- No ‘phone app’ features
- Initially more expensive that GPS trackers
- No map
- No continuous location update
- Safe zone not customisable
- No data sharing with friends
Marco Polo is suitable for users who…
- Have poor GPS or cell coverage
- Don’t want to use a phone
- Want to track more than one dog (or drone/rocket)
- Like the ‘radar’ look
Marco Polo USA
Marco Polo UK
Marco Polo Canada
Best dog trackers summary
These are our top dog tracker picks and at least one of them should suit you, your dog, your location and your budget.
I hope you found this article interesting and useful.
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