How to Buy the Right Pet Tracker for Your Herding Breed Dog
What to know before buying a pet tracker for your herding breed dog
As herding breed dog parents, we're lucky: wandering away from home usually goes against their nature. But occasionally, the tantalizing lure of a wild rabbit on the run or the dazzling scent of female in estrus is just too powerful for our dogs to ignore. If your herding dog shows occasional weakness to tempting distractions, you need a pet tracking device.
But don't rush out and buy a pet tracker until you do your research, or you may be disappointed. Look at any of the new pet wearables showcased at the annual Consumer Electronics Show and you're liable to get dizzy. The top rated pet wearables can do everything from set up a “geo-fence” perimiter around your home to feed real-time streaming of your dog's daily activities right to your phone. Before buying your first pet tracking device, the first question to ask yourself is: “What do I want to do with it?” Carefully consider how pet tracking technology can fit into your life – and your budget. For example:
- Do you just want reassurance that your dog is always safe at home?
- Would your workday be better if you had live streaming video of your dog?
- Is your dog's health a concern? Can knowing your dog's vital signs be useful?
- Do you mind paying a subscription fee to have constant monitoring?
- Are you budget-minded and only want a pet-ID tag with data storage capabilities?
The good news is you'll find pet tracking tags, collars and cameras to suit every budget and need, like these four types we discovered:
Spend Less with a QR Coded Pet Tag
QR coded pet tags are an affordable way to keep tabs on your herding dog. For less than $20 you can purchase a device like the DynoTag, which assigns a special QR code and corresponding web URL to your dog. Activate the tag upon purchase and you can upload your pet's identifying information, medical needs and more to DynoTag's secure cloud storage. If your dog runs away, all someone has to do is scan the QR code with their smart phone and the information you want them to see will appear. QR coded tags are especially useful for dogs with urgent medical conditions. Just don't get them confused with a GPS chip; they will not pinpoint your dog's exact location.
Get Out the Bells and Whistles with a Pet Camera
Modeled after human baby monitors, pet cameras are a high tech way to make sure Rex isn't eating the sofa. All you need is a smart phone and a popular choice like the Petcube Camera to give your dog happy praise (or otherwise!) from afar. As long as your dog doesn't leave the wide-angle view of its camera, Petcube says you can interact as much as you want with streaming HD video and 2-way audio. The device not only takes photos and video but even has a built-in laser toy you can command from anywhere. As long as you have reliable and cheap broadband (it must have a consistent wifi connection to work), you'll probably love this device.
Track Your Herding Dog for Under $100
Pet tracking collar products generally start at $100, but Whistle is one company that produces a highly rated product for around $80: You'll find the Whistle GPS Pet Tracker is an affordable way to locate your wandering herding dog by using cellular and GPS technologies. The Whistle will text you if your dog ever wanders from your home's designated safe zone, and will even track your dog's movements and activity level to ensure they're getting a workout while you're away. Although the Whistle GPS Pet Tracker has a low entry-level price, it makes up for it with a required subscription fee that starts at $6.95 a month.
Better Tracking Protection for Over $100
One of the best aspects about the $200 Marco Polo Pet Tracking System is not only can it be used for monitoring up to three dogs, but it's a self-contained unit that works anywhere without relying on GPS or cell phone connectivity. As a bonus, you won't even pay a monthly monitoring charge. You can set electronic zones around your home and if your dog wanders a warning bell goes off. The collar is essentially a two-way radio that monitors your dog within a 2-mile range. If your dog happens to wander further, all you need to do is start driving around. When you get within two miles, you'll be guided to their exact location.
Like any training or behavior tool, pet tracking devices are only as good as the bond you create with your dog. No pet tracking device can guarantee your dog won't go astray, but to encourage your pup to stay close to home, start with our library of herding dog training articles.