Collars & Leashes

Best Real-Time Dog Location Tracking Devices: Hands-on Experiences & More!

We hands-on tested different dog tracking devices and reviewed the top picks of 2021 here. Includes both cellular and radio frequency based tracking systems!

Best Dog Trackers

Best Dog GPS Trackers 2021 🐕 (In a Nutshell)
  1. The Best Overall ➔ Whistle GO Explore
  2. Most Lightweight ➔ Whistle GO Location & Health Tracker
  3. Best No Monthly Fee ➔ MARCOPOLO Advanced Pet Locating System
  4. Best Value Pick ➔ Tractive LTE GPS Dog Tracker
  5. Most Innovative ➔ Pawfit 2 GPS Pet Tracker
  6. Best for Location Tracking + Dog Training ➔ Garmin Alpha 100 Bundle

One of the most frustrating things that can happen to a dog owner is when their beloved pet runs away or goes missing. But, to assuage your fears, we have reviewed the best Dog GPS Trackers to enable you to keep a 24/7 track of your dog’s location and locate your missing canine as quickly as possible should the need arise.

A GPS tracking gadget for dogs is a navigation gadget that is used to monitor the real-time whereabouts of dogs. The GPS transmitter/collar worn by the dog delivers live satellite position signals to the receiver, allowing the pet owner to follow or record the pet’s live location and easily chase it.

Losing a beloved dog may be a nightmare, even more so if you live in a densely populated region. But if your dog is outfitted with the best GPS tracker activity monitor, you won’t have to post “Got Lost” leaflets on street walls or share photographs of your canine on social media and hope someone calls.

These gadgets, which come in a variety of configurations and operating modes, use 3G cellular, GPS, or radiofrequency technologies to assist you in locating a missing dog that has strayed from its kennel.

The 6 Best Dog GPS Tracking Devices in 2021 –Tested & Reviewed

Finding a reliable GPS tracker is the first challenge to overcome…. learning how to use it is still the second. There are literally dozens of different GPS dog trackers available on the market. Which one should you select among the hundreds, if not thousands, of different variations available?

Here we list the top Dog GPS trackers to purchase in 2021. The list was compiled after conducting extensive research on dog trackers, learning about the various types of technologies incorporated into these trackers, what people have to say about each of these products, how many functionalities each of them has, and which ones will work best for a specific purpose.

Petsbeast’s experienced product evaluation team put each of these products through a series of missing dog simulation tests to determine their ability to assist in locating a lost dog. As a result, go through the reviews of the top dog GPS trackers of 2021. A detailed buying guide and comparison chart are also included to assist you in making the best buying decision for a Puppy GPS Tracker.

 

 The Best Overall 

1). Whistle GO Explore GPS Dog Tracker Collar & Activity Monitor

Whistle Go Explore Dog GPS Tracker

Tracking Technology:Cellular/Sim
Tracking Range:Unlimited
Tracking Rate:Every 15 seconds
Requires Cellular Subscription:Yes
Battery Timing:20-days
IP Rating:IPX8
Warranty:1-year

The All-New Whistle Go Explore is hands down 2021’s best Dog GPS tracker, period. It’s an all-in-one “subscription-based” device that provides unrivaled real-time dog tracking and monitoring actions with an infinite range. The subscription is available in monthly, annually, or two-year packages, and includes cellular data connection for GPS location monitoring, proactive notifications, alarms, and other features.

Whether your dog is lost deep in the woods or has gone missing in a densely populated metro, the Whistle GO Explore will quickly retrieve its live position and show it on your smartphone owing to its high-tech mobile GPS.

You may designate a safe zone for your dog using the app’s live Map feature. The instant your dog exits the secure zone, the app alerts you. As an added bonus, the GPS Dog Tracker Collar is outfitted with a Beacon of Light, which allows you to find your dog even in low-light settings. You may set the collar’s light to Flash or ON from the app settings on your phone, and identify where your dog is hiding in the dark.

No concerns about the GPS Tracker being switched off owing to low charge since the Whistle GO Explore 2021 has an extended 20-day battery life. Charge it to full, and enjoy uninterrupted GPS tracking for this many days. Whistle GO Explore features canine health surveillance, and insight into suggested meal quantities – depending on the activity level, weight, age, and breed of your companion dog.

The device is built with IPX8 Technology to endure tough weather conditions, making it completely resistant to water, dust, and wear and tear from dog jumps, bites, and nail scratches.

In general, the Whistle GO Explorer is an excellent choice for dog owners. The product maintains its position as the greatest and highest-rated item in this industry, and Whistle GO’s commitment to this industry is unrivaled!

Pros
  • Unlimited Range
  • Real-Time Location Tracking
  • Real-Time Dog Activity Monitoring (licking, scratching, walking & sleeping)
  • Built-in LED FlashLight
  • 20-Days Extended Battery Life
  • Instant Alerts and Notifications
  • Health Monitoring w/ Wellness Report
  • Connected with the smartphone app
  • Affordable Subscription Plans
Cons
  • Works only in the USA & Canada
  • Does not work without a cellular subscription

Hands-on Experience with Whistle GO Explore GPS Tracker

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My Labra Bull wearing Whistle GO tracker – morning cuteness overload!

I’ve been a big admirer of Whistle GO trackers since I first learned about them some years back. Each successive tracker that has been released has only improved upon the previous one. I appreciate the peace of mind and valuable information the tracker provides on my Labra Bull.

It includes a variety of location tracking options. You may pick between three different preset refresh rates ranging from 3 minutes to 30 minutes. While a longer time interval conserves battery life, my product’s battery still lasts more than a week on a 3-minute refresh rate.

You may also enable the “tracking” function, which will update the GPS position every 15 seconds. If you were attempting to track down a wandering pet, you would almost likely want to utilize this feature. This drains the battery considerably quicker, but the tracking is almost real-time, not quite as quick as Google maps on your phone, but definitely, enough to locate a missing pet outside, even if he or she is moving.

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My dog’s agility training as seen on Whistle Go Explore.

Additionally, the smartphone app is simple to use and keeps you informed of activities. I’m not sure how it evaluates the licking since my dog doesn’t lick much on himself, but it sometimes displays he is “frequent,” despite the fact that he licks me all the time. All in all, the product is worth it and I feel no nuisance in paying $12 a month for the cellular subscription!

🖊️ Aamir Iqbal (author @PetsBeast)

 

 The Most Lightweight 

2). Whistle GO Location & Health Tracker

Whistle Go GPS Tracker

Tracking Technology:Cellular/Sim
Tracking Range:Unlimited
Tracking Rate:Every 15 seconds
Requires Cellular Subscription:Yes
Battery Timing:10-days
IP Rating:IP68
Warranty:1-year

The Whistle GO is a stripped-down version of the Whistle GO Explore. It is a heavy-duty GPS Tracker with a slew of fascinating features that place it among the best Dog GPS Collars available today.

This gadget is tiny. It weighs less than an ounce. It is compatible with collars up to 1 inch wide. This GPS dog tracker’s tiny size, compactness, and lightweight will make it a paperweight for your dog.

The Whistle GO connects to your smartphone. It identifies your dog’s geolocation and transmits it to your phone over AT&T’s network or 3G cellular connection. This is an advantage since most dog trackers still function through Bluetooth. And we all know that Bluetooth has a restricted range, reaching just roughly 100 feet. But with 3G wireless coverage, Whistle Go can monitor your dog’s whereabouts on an unlimited distance range.

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Whistle Go showing my cat’s healthy activity report on its smartphone app.

Additionally, the Whistle Go may connect to your home’s Wi-Fi. You may define a safety zone for your dog within the Wi-Fi range. If your dog is within the Wi-Fi range, the gadget will automatically switch from 3G to wifi to save battery life. If your pet ventures beyond the assigned range, you will be notified by the gadget through your smartphone. Whistle Go will switch back to the 3G network and follow your dog’s whereabouts due to this auto-switching functionality.

Apart from LIVE tracking, the Whistle Go also shows your dog’s activity monitoring report, which details the distance traveled and if your dog is currently walking, sleeping, licking, or scratching itself. As with the GO Explore model, the GO version includes a Health Tracker that displays your dog’s health status. Other features include an escape alert and 10-day intensive battery life.

Pros
  • Real-Time GPS Tracking with AT&T and Google Maps
  • Unlimited Range Detection
  • Activity Monitor
  • Health Tracker
  • Escape Alerts
  • Connected with Whistle smartphone app
  • Affordable Cellular Subscription Plans
  • Water-Resistant
  • Lightweight design makes it ideal for cats as well
Cons
  • Unlike the Whistle GO Explore model, this standard Whistle Go model does not include a night LED flashlight. Also, the battery life is just 10-days, as compared to the 20-day battery life of its successor.
  • Works only in the USA and Canada

Hands-on Experience with Whistle GO Location & Health Tracker

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My kitty Emma wearing the Whistle Go tracker.

“I have an outdoor/indoor kitten I’m obsessed with. Not embarrassed to acknowledge.

This little instrument has provided me with immense peace of mind. You have no clue how much I regret not purchasing a Whistle earlier. It has entirely removed a big source of tension in my life since I am now able to locate the kitty down using my smartphone. This crazy felinophile would love to say a big thanks to Whistle.

In case you’re wondering, it’s a tad big for kittens (see photos), but it’s quite lightweight. If your cat isn’t bothered by wearing a standard collar and tags, he or she is unlikely to be bothered by this.”

🖊️ Minnie Johnas (author @PetsBeast)

 

 Works Without Cellular Subscription 

3). Eureka Technology MARCOPOLO Advanced Pet Locating System

Eureka Technology MARCOPOLO Advanced Pet Locating System

Tracking Technology:Radio Frequency
Tracking Range:Unlimited
Tracking Rate:Every 5 seconds
Requires Cellular Subscription:No
Battery Timing:6-weeks
IP Rating:IP68
Warranty:30-days 100% refund policy

The MARCOPOLO Pet Tracking System is the most technologically advanced pet activity and location monitoring device available in 2021 – providing real-time live tracking of your dog through its satellite-linked wireless radar system. The device is unique in a way that it does not require internet, cellular service, Bluetooth, or monthly subscription plans to fetch your dog’s real-time live location.

So, how does it work then?

The product comes in a package of two: the MARCOPOLO Collar Tag and an LCD-integrated Remote Controller. It has a built-in heavy-duty radar system with unlimited range scanning. Make your pet wear the MARCOPOLO Collar Tag, and you’ll be able to see your pet’s current location on the Remote Controller panel’s digital screen.

While searching for your missing pet, Marco Polo operates as a personal radar system, analyzing the surrounding zones as you walk, even within nearby houses, backyards, and buildings.

The dog’s collar tag keeps responding to the remote controller once every 5 seconds, alerting the locator of the dog’s current activity and location. By following the directed arrows on the remote’s digital screen and observing the signal quality received from the dog’s collar tag, you will be able to locate your pet – regardless of whether they are lost deep in the dense jungle.

The collar of MARCO POLO is completely waterproof, allowing dogs to enjoy swimming for extended periods without the collar being harmed by water. The design of this item has also been carefully considered. It was created in such a manner that it would not get entangled in branches or get damaged while your dogs are playing. This gadget contains a rechargeable battery that can last for up to 6 weeks.

With the purchase of additional collar tags, the MARCOPOLO Dog Collar Monitoring Device can monitor up to three dogs at the same time and display distinct live-location tracking of all three dogs on a single hand-held remote controller.

Pros
  • Provides 100% free real-time Live location tracking without internet, Bluetooth, and cellular service
  • Works in no-signal areas
  • 6-week long battery life
  • Water-resistant
  • Each MARCOPOLO controller can simultaneously work with 3 dogs
  • Strong radar tracking system with deep scanning
  • Set pet safety zones
  • Best for hiking as well
  • Works all over the world
Cons
  • Expensive
  • The collar tag is big, so it isn’t suitable for small cats and dogs
  • Usage is a bit complicated for novices

Hands-on Experience with MARCOPOLO Advanced Pet Locating System

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My MarcoPolo Pet location tracking and activity monitoring kit.

“I was on the lookout for a nice way to keep track of my furry friends. I have a 70-pound Lab that enjoys swimming and an 8-pound cat that always likes to hide from me. Finding a solution that works for both dogs and cats was a challenge.

For the cat, it must comfortably fit on its breakaway collar. The Marco Polo tag is less than an ounce in weight and is attached by a soft nylon fabric holder that fits snugly around the collar, ensuring that nothing hangs down to trap on bushes. She didn’t even notice it when I placed it on her collar.

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Kitty Gigi does not feel irritated by this collar. She loves it as well!

For the Lab, I needed a solution that can withstand the Lab’s love of water and his smashing through the bushes on our treks. I take him on excursions where we often go through locations without phone service, and this is one of the few devices that work without phone coverage or cellular towers.

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Overall, the best bang for your buck!”

🖊️ Nathan Carlton (author PetsBeast)

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“Marco Polo is my favorite. The best buy I’ve ever made. I reside in a 5-hectare farmhouse surrounded by 100 hectares of maize, tree lines, and fields of soybeans. I experimented with a variety of GPS trackers, but none lived up to my expectations. My dog has a strong predatory drive.

I was going to spend hundreds of dollars on my pets’ security. Fortunately, I eventually discovered Marco Polo as a less expensive option. A minor learning curve does exist, but it’s worth it.

Mine is set to 24/7 sound an alert if he wanders too far away. The remote receptor needs a few minutes to make a connection to the collar tag, but it’s fine as long as I am getting an accurate tracking report of my dog on an unlimited distance range without cellular towers.

It was only once that I had to take my 4×4 off-road jeep out to get him back home. He was chasing a deer. Wouldn’t let up. He was a fair mile from home. Marco Polo had me on his tail the whole time. That one day alone I couldn’t thank Marco Polo enough.

The battery life is incredible! I charge the receiver on his collar just once a month. It has been known for people to spend the whole weekend outdoors with little or no battery consumption. It has a battery meter, which I’ve stopped paying attention to. It’s not necessary; it’s always ready to use. I wholeheartedly endorse this Dog GPS tracker without a monthly fee!”

🖊️ Anike Malic (PetsBeast reader)

 

 The Best Value Pick 

4). Tractive LTE GPS Dog Tracker

Tractive GPS Tracker

Tracking Technology:Cellular/Sim
Tracking Range:Unlimited
Tracking Rate:Every 2 seconds
Requires Cellular Subscription:Yes
Battery Timing:3-days
IP Rating:IP67
Warranty:1-year

If you’re looking for a dog tracker that’s well-liked by pet owners, highly rated, and reasonably priced, look no further than the Tractive LTE GPS Dog Tracker. This gadget is waterproof and lightweight, readily attachable to the harness or collar of your dog.

This device’s monthly membership cost begins at $5.00. It makes use of the Tractive GPS App in order to locate the precise position of your pooches. It has an unlimited range since it tracks your dog’s whereabouts through a cellular connection. Your tracker operates similarly to your phone. It is equipped with its own SIM card and can connect to the best available networks globally at no additional cost – just like a phone – to give location data of your pet.

Unlike the Whistle Go, which is compatible with cellular towers in the USA and Canada only, this Tractive GPS Dog Tracker is compatible with cellular towers of 150+ countries.

Additionally, this gadget enables you to pre-define a secure zone. When your dog exits this zone, the gadget will notify you through an audible and visual alarm. Apart from determining your dog’s precise position, this GPS tracker also captures the dog’s footprints and shows where your dog was seconds ago, where it is currently, and where it is headed.

The battery life is standard, with most customers expecting 2-3 days of use on a two-hour full charge. Other benefits include a pet activity monitoring feature, an LED flashlight, and a loud sound ring-able speaker on the collar.

Pros
  • Extremely Affordable
  • Real-Time Live Location Tracking
  • Unlimited Range
  • Simple, Easy-to-Use
  • Advanced Smartphone Application
  • Keeps Track of Dog’s Footprints
  • Waterproof
  • Cheap Subscription Plans
  • Works in 150+ countries
Cons
  • Short battery life

Hands-on Experience with Tractive LTE GPS Dog Tracker

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When it comes to going hiking with my doggy Larry, the Tractive GPS tracker is something I 100% rely on for my dog’s safety purpose!

“To begin, if you have a dog that has the habit of chasing after other animals and then getting lost, the live tracking option is ideal. By default, the tracker option is tracking every 15 seconds and reduces to a mere 2 seconds once you switch to “live tracking” mode, which is useful if you need to locate a missing dog.

This is the first tracker I’ve tried, but considering reviews of other brands, it appears to be an excellent performer and we’ve had no reception issues. It accomplishes the task at hand – locating the dog. Also, I can vouch for the fact that it is waterproof since our dog enjoys swimming whenever the chance presents itself.

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Dog’s location and activity report, as shown on Tractive’s smartphone app.
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Also there’s a leaderboard that shows your dog’s progress against other dogs with the Tractive collar. My Larry ranks 43rd!

However, there are a few very annoying issues that I hope the makers would consider:

  1. If you reside in an area densely forested, you may experience frequent signal loss.
  2. The battery life is very limited. After three months of use, the tracker’s battery life has been reduced to less than 36 hours.

But overall, it’s an excellent product at an excellent price!”

🖊️ Baala Nizami (author @PetsBeast)

 

 The Most Innovative 

5). Pawfit 2 GPS Pet Tracker

Pawfit 2 GPS Tracker

Tracking Technology:Cellular/Sim
Tracking Range:Unlimited
Tracking Rate:Every 5 seconds
Requires Cellular Subscription:Yes
Battery Timing:6 days
IP Rating:IP68
Warranty:18-months

The Pawfit 2 is a real-time GPS location tracking gadget that comes with an abundance of extra pet protection functions like live activity tracking, fitness monitoring, safety alarms, and remote voice control. The product is built to last while also being robust, sturdy, and resistant to daily wear and tear.

Pawfit Pet GPS Tracker utilizes cellular technology (2G/GSM), which when coupled with innovative position-searching algorithms, gives you the most up-to-date and accurate information on your furry friend’s present location. Regardless of how far away your pet is, this revolutionary device, with its technically savvy motion capture, can immediately retrieve the animal’s live geolocation on your smartphone, anytime and everywhere.

The PawFit Dog/Cat GPS tracker has three distinct tracking functions. Each of these functions is very beneficial in finding missing pets, even when it seems to be impossible.

  • Live Tracking Mode: This function enables you to keep track of your pet’s activities in real-time, from anywhere. The mode reviews the pooch location every 5-seconds.
  • Light Tracking Mode: Is your dog lost in the dark? You may rely on Pawfit’s Light Tracking Mode, which activates the collar’s high-beam flashlight, allowing you to quickly find your missing animal in the dark.
  • Sound Tracking Mode: We found the device’s integrated speaker to be a very helpful feature for estimating the animal’s position from a short distance, particularly if the animal is undetectable to the naked sight or trapped in a dark area. The sound on the collar may be played through the collar-linked smartphone.

Pawfit 2 Tracker’s built-in speaker can not only be utilized for alarm-playing purposes but also broadcasting voice commands to your pet remotely, even when the animal is out of sight. You may record and store up to five four-second voice instructions with the Pawfit Voice option. These voice messages may be played through the Pawfit App on your mobile device.

This function makes this GPS collar excellent for dog training since it allows you to play customized audible commands from a fair distance to your dog. Your pet will hear and react to your voice instructions via the built-in speaker.

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The collar has several intelligent functions targeted at safeguarding your pet. It has text-to-speech technology. Simply enter and store your pet’s information in your Pawfit account, and the collar will automatically convert the textual data to audio. Therefore, if someone discovers your missing pet, they may push the collar’s button to hear vital information such as the pet’s name, home address, and owner information.

The collar also has a temperature sensor that continuously monitors the temperature of the environment in which your pet is confined. Instant alerts are sent to the owner’s connected smartphone when your pet dog or cat is exposed to dangerously hot or cold temperatures.

The all-new Pawfit Pet GPS Tracker gives you the ability to establish up to ten personalized safety zones for your furry friend. If your dog or cat ventures beyond the specified area, you will get an immediate notification through the Pawfit Smartphone App. Healthy monitoring is also one of the tracker’s unique features.

Pros
  • Accurate Location Tracking
  • Unlimited Range
  • Safety & Protection Alerts
  • Health & Fitness Monitoring
  • Live Tracking Mode with Light and Sound
  • Durable Build Quality
  • User-Friendly
  • Affordable Subscription Plans
Cons
  • Requires Cellular Subscription
  • Short Battery Life
  • Works Only In Europe and North America
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Whether you’re taking a leisurely walk in the park, hiking someplace new, or resting in the garden, your Pawfit is ready to capture every minute of the experience.

“The Pawfit GPS Tracker is the perfect solution for spying on your pet’s location in real-time and monitoring your pet’s fitness hassle-free. It is an All-in-One product that features functionalities more than simple location tracking such as the ability to broadcast voice commands to your pet over a range of distance and providing you with minute-to-minute insight into your pet’s daily routine on your smartphone.

The tracker nicely attached to my kitty’s collar. The build-quality was strong and I am pretty confident that it can last for years with no cracks and wear and tear. However, my main concern is the tracker’s short battery life and the unavailability of other location tracking modes. You are limited to cellular GSM tracking only!”

🖊️ Nathan Carlton (author @PetsBeast)

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Mano lives in the hustling and bustling city of Edinburgh. ⁠So, when neighborhood cats come over to play and they go off exploring, Mano’s hoomum is always able to pinpoint her exact location using the Pawfit tracker attached to her collar saving her a lot of stress.

“I tested the Pawfit GPS Tracker on my dog. The device easily strapped onto my Labrador’s collar and stayed tightly secured in place. The location tracking was 99.99% accurate, and real-time tracking was instantly available on the Pawfit Smartphone App. Though the product is great in terms of dog location tracking, there’s considerable room for improvement in the battery-life department.”

🖊️ Minnie Johnas (author @PetsBeast)

 

 The Best Dog Location Tracking cum Training Collar 

6). Garmin Alpha 100 Bundle

Garmin Alpha 100 Bundle

Tracking Technology:Radio Frequency
Tracking Range:9 miles
Tracking Rate:Every 2.5 seconds
Requires Cellular Subscription:No
Battery Timing:1-day
IP Rating:IP68
Warranty:1-year

Some dog collars are effective at tracking location, while others provide real-time activity monitoring and dog training. However, the Garmin Alpha 100 Bundle (including Garmin Alpha Controller + Garmin TT 15 Collar) combines all of those functions into one device — an all-in-one dog collar with live location tracking, activity monitoring, and dog training modes.

While some may consider this gadget to be pricey, we can guarantee you that this product offers value for each dollar spent. It is one of the Garmin brand’s high-tech handheld devices that is ideal for both pet owners and trainers. Reliant on US radio communication frequencies, this dog tracker enables you to monitor and train your dogs in the outdoors at a distance of up to 9 miles, pinging you with location information every 2.5 seconds. No subscription. No cellular service is needed.

This gadget incorporates a GLONASS tracking technology, which improves the GPS system’s performance in deep valleys, canopies, and other difficult terrains. The tracking device comes with a TOPO US 100K map preloaded. Additionally, it has a barometric altimeter and a three-axis electronic compass, which improves its tracking and finding capabilities. This gadget also includes a geofence, which enables you to set the virtual borders on the map so that if your dog strays outside of the zone, it will give you an instant alert.

It is powered by a lithium-ion battery that lasts up to 20 hours on a full charge. Put it on the Rescue Mode option, and it will work for 12 more hours while slowing down the location ping rate from 2.5 seconds to a 2-minutes.

Garmin Alpha 100 has an IPX7 water certification, which means it is waterproof and can endure severe weather. The remote control features a 65-K transflective touchscreen color. This touchscreen gadget is glove compatible, which means you won’t have to remove your gloves when hunting in freezing winter conditions. It has a self-contained memory of 4GB of dog’s daily activity reports storing data, but can be extended with an after-market SD card.

The ability to monitor and train dogs is perhaps the greatest feature of the Garmin Alpha 100 Bundle. Each Garmin Alpha 100 controller can simultaneously work with over twenty different Garmin TT 15 collars on different dogs. It is equipped with Tri-Tronics® dog training technology, which employs a number of training elements such as various types of stimulation and intensity levels. The training buttons enable you to interact with each dog individually while maintaining a safe and effective environment for both of you. Three distinct Training Stimulation Modes – Vibration, Shock, and Beep/Tone – are available, each having 18 independently adjustable intensity levels and continuous or temporary stimulation.

LED Beacon Lights, Waterproof Resistance, and Ergonomic design – are some other special attributes, which make Garmin TT 15 a hot choice for pet owners!

Pros
  • Works without a cellular subscription, internet, and Bluetooth
  • Provides Real-Time Tracking & Activity Monitoring
  • Equipped with a high-range Signal Antenna
  • Trace Location up to 9 miles
  • Touch screen controller
  • Offers Triple Dog Training Modes with Adjustable Stimulation
  • LED Beacon Lights
  • Waterproof Resistance
  • Ergonomic Design
Cons
  • Expensive
  • No unlimited range
  • Difficult to operate outside of the United States and Canada
  • Involves a learning curve
  • Short battery life
  • The long antenna on the collar is a bit annoying

Hands-on Experience with Garmin Alpha 100 Bundle

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Jack, the dog, sports a Garmin GPS collar (antenna in the photo) to make sure I can keep track of him. He gets super excited to put it on because he knows he gets to go off leash!

This collar and tracker are both very costly. Oh god. Very, very, extremely so. For me, at least. That is also my only criticism. I mean, Jesus!

I live on a farm and like letting my dog go everywhere, particularly in the yard, fields, and woods, when the weather permits. He seldom sprints more than a few hundred feet, and when he does, it is typically in pursuit of a rabbit or another animal. He does not catch them, but they both get a thrill from the adrenaline and some activity. lol.

With the Garmin Alpha Bundle 100, I enjoy sitting in my home and seeing precisely where he is. How fast he is moving. If he is on the go or resting. Everything.

I frequently take my dog hiking, and when we are on vacation, he gets the opportunity to run around freely. I tested the range of this collar and found that it works well up to 5 miles in dense forests, maybe beyond. It claims a 9-mile range, and I’m delighted to have obtained five of those miles in the most challenging terrains where the majority of GPS trackers fail to function.

I mainly utilize the training features to give or teach him basic commandments. I seldom use it to give a shock. Just the occasional beep or vibration is all I use a majority of times. However, it is an excellent choice for people whose dog is in the training process.

The GPS receiver that comes with the collar is incredible. Yes, it is waterproof… I confirmed this by tossing it into a lake, where it sank. As a result, don’t expect it to float. I was fortunate to be in shallow water.

This is a very high-quality system. In retrospect, I guess I might have saved some money by purchasing the one without the training features, but I have no regrets; I’m happy I have them, and I do use them on occasion.

If you can afford it and your dog is a habitual wanderer and you want a simple method to keep track of their whereabouts, this collar is great.

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Additionally, it has a map service. It was difficult to get to work and set up; it’s not simple, but it is possible, as I can attest. And after you’ve loaded the maps, it’s really awesome.

$800 for the peace of mind that comes with knowing that if my dog goes into a cornfield, or a dense forest, or anywhere, I will always know where she is and in which route he is progressing? It’s pricey, but it’s valuable. Very pleased with my buy.

🖊️ Aamir Iqbal (author @Petsbeast)

 

Best Dog Trackers Comparison Chart

ProductTracking TechnologyRangeTracking RateMonthly FeeBatteryWorks WorldwideWarranty
Whistle GO ExploreCellular/SimUnlimited15 seconds20 days1 year
Whistle GO Location & Health TrackerCellular/SimUnlimited15 seconds10 days1 year
MARCOPOLO Advanced Pet Locating SystemRadio FrequencyUnlimited5 seconds45 days1-month full refund policy
Tractive LTE GPS Dog TrackerCellular/SimUnlimited2 seconds3 days1 year
Pawfit 2 GPS Pet TrackerCellular/SimUnlimited5 seconds6 days18 months
Garmin Alpha 100 BundleRadio Frequency9 miles2.5 seconds1 day1 year

Dog GPS Tracking System Buying Guide

If you own a dog who is skilled in slipping away from his den, hasn’t mastered the skill of walking on a leash, or receives frequent visits from a pet sitter, you understand how necessary it is to monitor your dog’s real-time location and activity at all those out-of-the-sight moments. Fortunately, a dog GPS collar tracker may provide you with peace of mind in any of these scenarios, regardless of your dog is by your side or not.

Not all trackers are created equal—and there are many choices available. When looking for a dog GPS tracker collar, keep in mind that some models depend on cellular service to find your dog, while others utilize radio frequency (RF) technology or Bluetooth to establish contact between the pooch and the owner.

Another key factor to consider while buying a tracker? Subscription charges. Many trackers need a monthly or yearly fee to be paid in addition to the purchase price. Yet, there are several devices that involve minimal or no costs.

Each kind has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. As a result, we’ve put up our Dog GPS Tracker Buying Guide to assist you in determining which type is right for you. Additionally, some important advice from our specialists is given, as well as some critical considerations that must be addressed beforehand.

Tracking Mechanism

There are three different types of tracking systems used in pet tracker collars to help you determine the live location of your pet, along with the monitoring of dog’s activity i.e walking or at rest, and daily health reports. These are:

1. GPS Tracking

GPS tracking is the most incorporated mechanism in today’s modern dog GPS tracking collars. A pet GPS tracking system uses the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) network. This network consists of a number of satellites that send microwave signals to GPS devices to provide information on the pet’s exact location, speed, and direction.

GPS transmits unique satellite signals that are decoded by a receiver linked to the collar (the receiver can be your smartphone or the company-provided remote controller). So this is how a dog GPS tracking device may be able to provide both real-time and historical location information about the dog’s whereabouts.

Today, the majority of GSM GPS trackers like the Whistle Go Explore and the Pawfit 2 connect with the receiver using AT&T’s cellular technology. A SIM card is required to establish a contact between the receiver at the user’s end and the device on the dog’s collar – through the SIM card’s associated phone number.

Some pet trackers also give you the ability to broadcast voice commandments to the pet from a distant location and SIM cards allow this to happen: from location transmission, audio transmission and receiving instructions to enabling other tech-savvy features like wirelessly turning on the LED flashlight on the dog’s collar.

The biggest benefit of buying a GPS tracker for your dog is the tracker’s unlimited tracking range. Even if your dog is located hundreds of kilometers away in a different city, the GPS tracker can still pinpoint its exact location.

Their main drawback is the cellular network subscription costs. Monthly subscriptions begin at $10. An annual subscription, on the other hand, may reduce the monthly cost down to as little as $4. Additionally, a GPS tracker purchased in one country can’t be used in another country. You must be physically present in the country of purchase for the GPS tracker to function. If you have frequent visits abroad with your dog and the tracker, you may ask the cellular provider for the roaming options or invest in an RF-based tracker which works universally. Pawfit, Whistle, and Tractive don’t offer support outside of the US or Canada.

Pros & Cons of a Cellular Subscription-based GPS Tracker

Pros
  • Unlimited Range
  • Good Battery Life
  • Good Location Tracking Accuracy
  • Easy To Use
  • Operates With Your Smartphone
  • Affordable Price
Cons
  • Requires Monthly/Yearly Fee
  • Works Only In Cellular Network Coverage Areas
  • Not Ideal For Foreign Usage (expensive roaming charges may apply)

Is the SIM card in the GPS tracker the same as the SIM card in the phone?

The explanation is that the cards used for each are not the same. GPS trackers are equipped with an IoT card (Internet of Things).

Before the invention of the IoT card, all trackers utilized standard SIM cards similar to those found in our mobile phones. However, with the introduction of the IoT card, tracker companies chose to use it due to the less user traffic, improved location tracking accuracy, lower data package fees, a wider signal coverage area, and a high data-carrying capacity.

Standard phone cards lack specific interfaces and rely on a mobile operator’s network. But the IoT is different. It is much quicker than standard phone sim cards due to its own dedicated network interface and less user traffic.

Simply stated: GPS tracker sim card is a card specially introduced for GPS terminals, just as the mobile phone cards are appropriate for use with mobile phones only.

2. Radio Frequency Tracking

RF trackers establish a data connection between the handset and the tag by transmitting and receiving signals through radiofrequency. Most pet trackers use digital 2.4GHz RF (radio frequency) technology.

Both the base unit (which is kept by the caretaker) and the tag (which is connected to the dog’s collar) are capable of sending and receiving radio signals. The strength of the signal received by the base unit from the tag is utilized to determine both distance and direction.

The speed of the transmission and receiving of signals between the base unit and the tag are dependent on the distance between the two. Short distance means better accuracy and quick tracking, whereas long-distance means the opposite.

The most significant advantage of purchasing an RF tracker is its capacity to monitor your dog over an infinite range without the need for a monthly cellular subscription fee. And their main drawback is their expensive price. The Alpha Garmin Bundle100, for example, costs more than$800, with the receiver and collar alone costing approximately $500 and$300, respectively!

Pros & Cons of a Radio Frequency Tracker

Pros
  • Limited to Unlimited Range
  • Works Without Cellular Network
  • Requires No Monthly Fee
  • Very Accurate Location Tracking
  • Excellent Battery Life
  • Less Glitches
  • Works Worldwide
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Complicated Usage

3. Bluetooth Tracking

A Bluetooth tracker is a sleek and slim tag that can be attached to your dog’s collar to allow you to keep an eye on your pet (though it is completely ineffective and plain stupid for a moving animal like a dog).

It connects wirelessly to your mobile device and transmits data via the connection using Bluetooth Low Energy (also known as BLE or Bluetooth 4.0). Bluetooth pet trackers have a limited range of 30 ft since they rely on the Bluetooth signal strength between your tracker and your unit.

The range of a Bluetooth tracker is limited by the strength of the Bluetooth signal on your phone. This makes them excellent for tracking small items inside your house, such as missing keys, wallets, or bags, but not for tracking anything that is more than 20-300 feet away. However, if you are still reluctant in buying one, then DOTT The Smart Tag deserves our vote.

While the majority of Bluetooth trackers use relatively little power, just a handful have a changeable battery. The rest will last approximately a year before needing to be replaced. Some businesses provide a subsidized renewal scheme for repurchases.

The primary advantages of a Bluetooth pet tracker are the tracker’s low price, simplicity of use, and long battery life. Their greatest drawback is their short-range tracking abilities.

Pros & Cons of a Bluetooth GPS Tracker

Pros
  • Cheap Price
  • Slim and Lightweight
  • Battery Cell Lasts For 6-months to 1-year
  • Works Without Cellular Subscription
Cons
  • Not Good For Pet Tracking
  • Almost Negligible Tracking Range
  • Less Features

A Comparison Table Of Different Types Of Tracking Technologies

Cellular/Sim TrackerRadio Frequency TrackerBluetooth Tracker
DistanceUnlimited10-miles to Unlimited20-30ft
Battery LifeGood (2-7 days)Excellent (2-30 days)Outstanding (6-12 months)
Accuracy5m (16 ft)2.5 cm (1 in)N/K
Relies OnCellular NetworkRadio Communication FrequenciesBluetooth Signal b/w phone and tag
Ongoing Cost$4-$10 per monthN/aN/a

Battery Life

Long battery life is a major consideration when buying a dog tracker. It is also a little frustrating, particularly if you find yourself in a situation where you need to use it right away. Having a battery with a longer life span implies having fewer concerns about recharging every now and then.

Aside from that, while on a camping trip or hiking with your dog, electricity is not accessible in the open. A tracker with fast charging support and long battery life might be worthwhile in this instance. In addition, if your dog goes missing for several hours or days, a powerful battery would keep you in touch with your dog’s activity and location for a smooth and hassle-free recovery.

When in live tracking mode, location trackers use an increasing amount of battery power. With live tracking mode enabled, there’s a transfer of data between the receiver and the collar tag every 2-3 seconds. Thus, greater battery capacity equates to tension-free, uninterrupted use for an extended period of time.

A top-quality device like the MARCOPOLO Dog Monitoring Tracking System offers uninterrupted real-time activity and location monitoring with a whopping 6-weeks of battery life.

Tracking Range

Different tracking systems have varying ranges and distance limits. However, those equipped with cellular networks and the majority equipped with RF coverage provide real-time tracking over an infinite range. Range now plays a significant role in your buying choice.

Consider the case of one of our readers whose dog, driven by a strong predatory instinct, burst over the farm fence and chased a deer miles out in the forest. But with the endless tracking range of MarcoPolo, Anike stayed on his dog’s trail all the time and finally recovered him.

Ease of Usage

Most dog GPS trackers are highly sophisticated devices that must be used by individuals who understand the ABCs of technology. Cellular-based trackers are the simplest to use since you get the tracking collar’s full control panel or dashboard on your own smartphone. I mean who’s not acquainted with navigating maps, zooming in and out, and swiping right and left on a smartphone?

Radio Frequency trackers, on the other hand, have a steep learning curve involved. This is due to the fact that the RF tracking tags are not controlled by your smartphone, but rather by specialized remote controllers that lack an easy-to-use interface.

For instance, the Garmin Alpha 100 Bundle, although a top-of-the-line tracking device in its class, is inoperable by a beginner. You must first get away with downloading your country’s topographic map, and then upload it to the gadget. You must also understand how to switch between modes and the function of various buttons on the gadget. After all, it’s not an iOs or an Android UI you’re readily aware of!

Ingress Protection (IP) Rating

IP means “ingress protection” and evaluates the extent to which an equipment is protected against both solid and liquid substances. An IP rating may read like this: IP68.

As you can see, it is made up of two digits. The first digit informs us how effectively the product is shielded against solids like dust particles. The second digit is concerned with water-resistant properties. The higher the grade, the greater the protection of the goods.

IP testing has always been essential, but in recent times it has become a key selling point for many companies. Many tracker manufacturers are now publicizing and promoting their IP Code immersion test rating. They brag about their degree of protection. Having the ability to claim that their tracker will not be harmed if it is immersed in water or soiled by a dog while playing gives them an edge in the marketplace.

Note: Only products that have been subjected to rigorous testing by a recognized, independent laboratory are officially assigned an IP rating. Thus, no – a business cannot just put its own IP rating on a product for the sake of better sales.

Here’s a table depicting what different IP ratings mean in terms of solid and liquid protection.

IP RatingDegree of Protection Against Solid Foreign ObjectsDegree of Protection Against Water
IP08Not ProtectedImmersion beyond 1 m
IP18Solid object >50 mmImmersion beyond 1 m
IP28Solid object >12.5 mmImmersion beyond 1 m
IP38Solid object >2.5 mmImmersion beyond 1 m
IP48Solid object >1 mmImmersion beyond 1 m
IP58Dust protectedImmersion beyond 1 m
IP68Dust tightImmersion beyond 1 m
IP07Not ProtectedImmersion up to 1 m
IP17Solid object >50 mmImmersion up to 1 m
IP27Solid object >12.5 mmImmersion up to 1 m
IP37Solid object >2.5 mmImmersion up to 1 m
IP47Solid object >1 mmImmersion up to 1 m
IP57Dust protectedImmersion up to 1 m
IP67Dust tightImmersion up to 1 m

Additional Perks

Additional benefits supplement the purchase with an interesting dose of features. Today’s advanced GPS dog trackers provide additional functions for the consumer’s benefit. The addition of an LED lights and an alert speaker on a dog’s collar has become more common over the years, making it easier to locate your dog in the dark. Our top innovative pick of 2021, Pawfit 2 GPS Pet Tracker, even offers the ability to broadcast voice commands to your dog over any distance (just like sending a voikce message to your abroad friend over Whatsapp). This may come in handy when training your dog or calling him to have his food at your comfort.

Also, is the example of the Garmin Alpha 100 Bundle, which additionally offers 3 different dog training stimulation modes – shock, vibration, and beep – to assist pet parents with professional dog training. And since a dog GPS tracking system requires a heavy investment, you should pay heed to the product’s warranty and the company’s customer support as well.

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Nathan Carlton

Nathan Carlton is an executive editor at PetsBeast.com. He is an avid dog lover and holds a degree in "Holistic Health & Puppy Care" from The British College of Canine Studies. He has been parenting dogs since age 10, when he developed a strong bond with his father's Bull Dog. Today, he has a German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever, who he calls Joani and Saga, respectively.
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