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GPS Tracking for Dogs

Smiley14
December 27th, 2006, 10:20 PM
Does anyone know anything about GPS products for dogs or ever done any research on this? I'm seriously considering getting something for Petey! We had ANOTHER scare with him on Christmas Eve and my poor heart just can't take it anymore!

Not so quick summary: I have a doggie door that leads to my fenced backyard. I also have service people that come and go and once in a great while, forget to close the gate. I tried installing an invisible fence as a secondary fence in case the gate is left open, but despite months of working with trainers, he kept on running right through that invsible fence...which lead to him getting loose more times than I care to remember. If given the chance, he will take off running full speed and will NOT come back, no matter what. You cannot catch him, he ignores all recall commands, and he will only stop in another yard if there are people or other dogs around. The last time, I was at work and my lawn mower left the gate open and Petey was found the following day in the neighboring town TWELVE MILES away! It was the worst night of my life.
Since then, I have been fanatical about keeping the gates locked, locking the doggie door on any day someone could possibly be accessing the yard, etc. But I still worry about all the "what if" scenarios. What is a service worker comes on an "off-scheduled " day (as happened the last time), what if the bratty neighbor boy decides it would be funny to open the gate? It worries me constantly. But I also work very long hours and am hesitant to remove the doggie door. Petey LOVES it and so do I. Because I've been so overly careful, we haven't had any escapes in months.

But on Christmas Eve, I was visiting my parents up in rural MN. My sister arrived later in the day and left the front door wide open while she was unloading her car. I was at at movie at the time so was not home to see this. Got home, couldn't find Petey anywhere! We had four cars out searching for him for hours, my Dad went door to door to all the neighbors, and we kept calling the police and animal control for updates. We missed church and going to my grandparent's home (a tradition we've done for thirty years now) to keep on looking for him. It was freezing cold, they are surrounded by heavy woods and lakes that are not fully frozen yet, and lots of hunters who desire pointers in the area. I kept imagining the worst. It was AWFUL.
Eight hours later, I was actually sitting on my Mom's computer, sobbing away and actually in the middle of posting a plea for prayer here when suddenly I heard his collar jingling. I ran outside barefoot, but could not find him anywhere. On a whim, I went back into the house and searched the basement my Mom had already looked in earlier, and there he was! He had been locked in the basement the entire time! AH!!!! I closed out the post, fed him, and didn't let him out of my sight for the rest of the time!
Best we can figure, he must have followed my Mom downstairs when she was doing laundry earlier in the day and she didn't notice and accidentally locked him down there. For whatever reason, he never barked or whined, even though we were constantly calling for him and for whatever reason, my Mom didn't see him when she quickly checked down there when we first realized he was missing.
So anyway, Christmas Eve was ruined by another panic attack thinking the dog was missing. Something I was determined to never go through again!



So this leads back to my question on GPS tracking for dogs. :) I've been doing some research online, but there doesn't seem to be much available as of yet.
This page has a nice summary of the options available:
http://www.gps-practice-and-fun.com/gps-pet-tracking.html

Of the options listed here only three seem to be available in the US, the global pet tracking, the petmobility, and the GPS Pet tracker. The global pet (http://www.globalpetfinder.com) seems to have bad reviews and the unit is not water proof. Plus the company looks quite expensive with stiff upfront fees plus monthly fees. The petmobility (http://www.petsmobility.com) is the one I'm leaning towards currently, but can't find out much about it. It's not available yet, but looks to be soon. I emailed them to ask for more information. It's basically a cell phone for dogs (LOL!), but also has the GPS options. I don't know what the cost is or if there are monthy fees however. The third one (http://www.surveillance-equip.com/pet.gps.html) is very expensive upfront, but then there are no monthy fees. It looks to be the smallest and most durable one available. However, I can't seem to find much information about this one either.

Does anyone have any experience with these or have any suggestions of what else I should be asking about or looking for? This is all new to me, so I am clueless! Any help, suggestions, or recommendations would be greatly appreciated! Petey is micro-chipped and ID tagged of course, but I would love to have this added peace of mind in being able to track him when needed.

Thanks!
Steph

OntarioGreys
December 27th, 2006, 11:10 PM
I did look into the them for my one greyhound as she is very spooky if she got loose she would run for the hills and will try to avoid all people and would be very hard to recover, I know some people have management to find where their dog like mine is staying but it can still take a couple months to actually catch the dog, because it becomes so scared being loose it will not even go to its owner , so they either have to wait till the dog is starving and it need to eat outwieghs it;s fears or they have to use livetraps to try and catch. the problem is the length of time is longer than the batteries will last ven if fresh

Some of the problems are that is depends on a battery , which means you have to keep replacing batteries and leaving it on all the time since you will never know when he will find the oppotunity to escape, if he takes off when the battery is almost dead it may be of no use for track him as the siganl could be to weak or die while he is on the loose.
I know the one type provides location based on street addresses , rural addresses do not have street addresses and best it can do is provide you with the closest street address which could leave you with possibly a 2 mile maybe more search area, so okay in the city but not much use in rural communtities or if you have a large expanse of parkland near you like I do.

You already have an escape history you might be fine timewise with battery life but you have to decide if you are in too rural a location for it to be useful

Smiley14
December 27th, 2006, 11:34 PM
Thanks OG! I actually live in a large city, the capital. It's my parents that live in the rural area that we were visiting. Those were actually two of the things I was looking at, battery life and location. The battery life is less than ideal, the best one I could find was up to seven days. Can't remember which one that was now. So you are totally correct, that this would only be useful to a point. For me, Petey is not skittish or shy of people, that is what he runs to in fact. This past summer while trying to train him with the invisible fence, it was always people out in their yards that he stopped for and luckily they would be kind enough to catch him and call me. So he isn't hard to catch. But he can be impossible to track or find. So I think the battery life, while annoying because it has to be constantly recharged, wouldn't be too big a deal for me. He will approach no problem once found.

My other concern was exactly what you mentioned, the actual tracking location. The GPS seems to actually only be as good as cell phone range. Not a problem in my area, but definitely a problem when visiting my parents or when on vacation. So this wouldn't be very effective outside of my home. My parent's immediate area did have coverage with the one I am leaning towards and it claims you can choose directional options other than street addresses for rural areas to get within three yards of the location. I wonder if that is actually true or not though?!
It sounds like the technology right now is still prety basic, but is improving all the time. I can't decide if I should wait and see what the next generation looks like or go ahead and try one out now, even though it's not the most ideal given certain limitations. I just wonder if it sounds better in theory than it actually is. I'll wait to hear back from that one company I emailed.

Thank you for your advice!!! Much appreciated!

Prin
December 28th, 2006, 01:44 AM
Yeah, my old dobie was the same way. If ever there was a door to go through, he'd go and bolt away. The only way to catch him was if he stopped for a pee somewhere.:rolleyes:

Petey's neutered, right? Just because if he isn't they say that can help a lot...

I don't have any advice for the GPS though... After 10 years with my dobie, everybody we knew knew about his problem and were all very careful about it.:o

Dracko
December 28th, 2006, 10:51 AM
Hearing this makes me so glad that Dracko is not a runner! Some dogs are and some aren't. The most he would do if he got loose is go sit on the front steps. When I am walking him if I let him off the leash he keeps looking back to see where I am. I've hidden behing a tree or something and sure enough, he comes back to find me. Whew!

If he was a runner like your dog I would definitely look at something like a GPS. No question. I couldn't stand the stress of wondering where he was if he got out. :pawprint:

badger
December 28th, 2006, 12:02 PM
You know, wildlife bioligists use tracking collars all the time, maybe you could call up Natural Resources and get a name. Probably the technology they use is a little expensive for you (maybe not!) but they'd know what was available and what was worth the cost.

rainbow
December 28th, 2006, 01:42 PM
I think they sound like a great idea and would probably sell well if they were reasonable enough.

Smiley14
December 28th, 2006, 05:06 PM
Thanks guys!

Yep, Petey is neutured. He's just apparently a runner. :( None of my previous dogs have ever been runners before, so I've never had to deal with this before. It's stressful! Good to know I'm not the only one with a runner out there though! Maybe it's a pointer thing. I was just talking to my co-worker who also has a GSP and hers used to be a runner as well. He's an old boy now though, so just sleeps all day now. Now she's got some scary and hilarious stories to tell! But anyway, thanks for the support! :grouphug:

I still haven't heard back yet from that one company I emailed. Although now that I've been looking over the second and third options again today, I'm leaning more towards the third one. I wish it wasn't so big and clunky and I'm sure smaller versions will come out eventually, but this one is waterproof, has no monthly fees, has the longest battery life, and attaches to the current collar instead of needing it's own.

You know, I did also see a website from an environmental company that tracked wild dogs and birds. But there's had an external antenna that had to remain pointed upward. So the range is better, but I don't know how likely the extra collar and keeping that antenna in the right position would be. But if it works for wild dogs, you'd think it would work for Petey too! LOL! I have to try to find that site again. That is a good suggestion, thank you!

Smiley14
December 28th, 2006, 05:22 PM
Ok, here's the environmental one I saw:

"Environmental Studies has released the GPS PRO Dog tracking system for medium to large sized dogs. A GPS receiver and a GSM modem with special software are incorporated into the dog collar. You simply call the telephone number of the GPS-GSM dog collar with your mobile phone. The GPS receiver in the collar calculates the position of the dog and sends the co-ordinates immediately in a SMS text to your mobile phone. A VHF beacon allows hunters to track and train their dogs. Individual frequency adjustment is possible. An activity sensor tells via the mobile phone if the animal is in motion or on point. The system will work on the following GSM networks: Europe 900/1800MHz, North America 900/1900MHz and Asia 900/1800MHz."

Here's their website:
http://www.environmental-studies.de/products/GPS-GSM-dog-collar/dog-1.html

Now I remember, this one said it was out of stock for months. It's also over $1k, compared to the third option I'm now leaning toward, which is $600. Both don't require monthly fees. I wonder if this one has better range perhaps? If so, it might be worth waiting for and paying the extra cost.

Off to do more research! :)

OntarioGreys
December 29th, 2006, 11:07 AM
This here interests me but could not find more info on but the solar battery would be ideal to keep recharging the collar unit, only problem would likely be all the extra equipment you might need for the tracking since it is not created for pet use, by the time it does Maya would likely be to feeble to run, but better yet I can save the money and just remain extra cautious so as not to give her an opportunity to escape being for scientic research it would very likely be big $

"This new technology, a partnership between Swiss precision engineering and Canadian innovation, should allow researchers to develop a better understanding of a range of small and endangered animals and the role they play in the wider eco-system," said Dr. Jeffrey Goodyear, President & Founder of H.A.B.I.T. Research Limited. "That could provide critical insights into the future conservation of natural habitats and species of all sizes."


"H.A.B.I.T.'s new generation of wildlife tracking products makes the best out of our LEA-4H GPS module: Its small size means the scope of animals that can now be tracked has been significantly widened, while its combination of low power needs and high sensitivity means animals can be tracked for longer without interruption, even in difficult signal environments," said Nikolaos Papadopoulos, President of u-blox America.


The new H.A.B.I.T. GPS technology is also available in combinations with real-time VHF data telemetry and satellite PTT technology. Power supply options include battery or solar cell with packaging in collar and backpack configurations. This product is designed to weigh a little as 35g and can be used on mammals, both terrestrial and marine, reptiles, birds and amphibians.



Found more info on cost :eek: Satellite Telemetry

expensive (transmitters $5,000, satellite time $2,000 per year per transmitter)
data collection instantaneous, usually at intervals 1 hr
unlimited range
accurate to within several hundred metres
smallest package weighs 20 grams
shorter-term (batteries last up to one year for external transmitters and eight months for internal ones)
transmitter may break, malfunction or fall off

Scott_B
December 29th, 2006, 12:27 PM
Just a suggestion, but have you thought about obedience for the recall? I know it wont solve the problem if your not home, but if you are and see him go, a good recall could be all the difference. Whats he get for exercise? If you are unable to give him a good walk during the day, maybe have somone come by and walk him (on leash of course) to help tire him out some, drain some of that energy and it may help curb the urge to run.

Another suggestion, an alarm or buzzer or something on the gate that would remind people inside AND outside that its open. That way when people come and go, they would remember to shut it. even simpler a sign that reads "please keep gate closed, dog likes to run" kinda thing. Then fire anyone who leaves it open :p

Smiley14
December 29th, 2006, 01:04 PM
Just a suggestion, but have you thought about obedience for the recall? I know it wont solve the problem if your not home, but if you are and see him go, a good recall could be all the difference. Whats he get for exercise? If you are unable to give him a good walk during the day, maybe have somone come by and walk him (on leash of course) to help tire him out some, drain some of that energy and it may help curb the urge to run.

Another suggestion, an alarm or buzzer or something on the gate that would remind people inside AND outside that its open. That way when people come and go, they would remember to shut it. even simpler a sign that reads "please keep gate closed, dog likes to run" kinda thing. Then fire anyone who leaves it open :p

OG, Darn on the cost! I got excited for a second there. LOL!

Hey Scott! Petey's been in OB training since the first week I got him. He even passed his good citizen test. He's still in ongoing training....in fact we just ended one class right before Christmas and are jumping into the next one starting Jan 13th. So he KNOWS the recall and will listen except for when he escapes and will totally ignore it. I haven't been able to break him of this yet. I have worked with several trainers, both in classroom and private ones here at the house.

I do also have a dogwalker that comes out every weekday (Mon--Fri) that walks him for me. Every weekend, I take him to the dog park to run free. Pointers are endless bundles of energy. He can run for miles and still jump around the house when we get home. :rolleyes:

I also have bright yellow signs on both sides of both of my gates. I had those custom made after the first escape. But I don't have any alarms on the gate. We tried containment alarms for Petey, which he totally ignored, but haven't thought of warning alarms for people! Do they make such a thing? That would be a great added reminder since even with bright yellow signs, people still forget sometimes. :frustrated: But the alarm thing interests me! Thanks!!

Just noticed your firing comment. LOL! The police told me the same thing after the last escape.
I have the dogwalker that comes daily, a pooper scooper lady that comes weekly, a lawn mowing/snow shoveling company that comes weekly, and pest control man who comes quarterly (trying to keep all the spiders away!). It's the lawn mowing company and the pest control company that are always at fault. Both are only supposed to come on scheduled day/times, but will once in a while arrive on an off-scheduled day. And if I'm at work, he's long gone by the time I get home. There is a waiting list in my area for these services, so I've been on another company's waiting list for months. Believe me, I've had many discussions with the owner about it. It's been a lot better and we haven't had an incident in months, but I still worry.

glasslass
December 29th, 2006, 01:26 PM
A simple suggestion that might help, depending on the design of the gate, would be to install a heavy spring that pulls the gate closed. You have to prop the gate open if you don't want it to close. Seems like I read something once about a tracking device that young children could wear like a pendant or a watch. Don't search just under devices for pets. With all the child napping fears, you'd think something would be available that could be adapted for a pet.

glasslass
December 29th, 2006, 01:34 PM
Great idea! Quit your job and then fire the gardner, dog-walker, pooper-scooper, and pest control. You won't need as much income and can stay home with Petey. My hubby is thinking seriously about retiring soon. That will make Den-Den & Corky soooo happy! (Course, he hasn't mentioned taking over the gardening and housework yet!)

Smiley14
December 29th, 2006, 05:08 PM
Great idea! Quit your job and then fire the gardner, dog-walker, pooper-scooper, and pest control. You won't need as much income and can stay home with Petey. My hubby is thinking seriously about retiring soon. That will make Den-Den & Corky soooo happy! (Course, he hasn't mentioned taking over the gardening and housework yet!)

LOL! I wish! ;)

But you know, that's a good suggestion about the child tracking! I just looked online and even found a review in amazon from a woman who tried the global GPS tracking (the one I wasn't very impressed with anyway) and said she hated it and called her cell phone company and bought a child tracking kit from them and attached it to her dog's collar. Cool! I'm going to call my carrier and see if they have any options like that too! I've got T-Mobile, so we'll see what they offer. :) Thanks!

ETA: Forgot to comment on the springs for the gate. I just called my Dad and he said he can do that for me very easily! Yay!! He'll do that next time he's down here visiting. Thanks for the idea!!!!!

Smiley14
December 29th, 2006, 09:52 PM
Just got an email back from the Petscell company. They expect to start offering their product in the spring of 2007 and approx price will be $499 plus $20/month, depending upon the selected monthly plan. So this one does have a monthly fee after all. I had read that it didn't, but that it worked off a SIM card.
So I'm mostly likely going to go with the third option, the GPS Pet Tracker. However, since it's pretty expensive, I'll wait until next month to buy it. Just spent a lot of money on Christmas for this month, lol.

Cell phone companies do offer a companion type product for children or elderly, but it's not in a waterproof casing and they only sell "backpacks" for them that are material. They also have a $10/m service fee. So I don't think this would be a very effective option for Petey. But they have had other pet owners use them, so it's definitely another option out there! For me though, I really want something water proof since we are surrounded by lakes in my area and in areas we frequently visit.
So anyway, hopefully the thing will work out well! Thanks again to everyone for your help and suggestions! Hopefully between the springs on the gates and this as back-up, Petey either won't get out of if he does, I can quickly track him! I feel better about the situation at least. :)

Byrd
December 29th, 2006, 10:01 PM
We just got my mom one of those Lifeline "help I've fallen and I can't get up" things, the lady said that they are trying out GPS tracking systems with those in Europe so that they can track people when they are out and about and the ambulance can find them if something happens. I wouldn't be surprised if they implimented this into the microchip within a few years, wouldn't that be cool!

I also know how you feel, I had a husky for 15 years.

Smiley14
December 29th, 2006, 10:08 PM
It amazing how fast the technology changes. I wouldn't be surprised too! I read some articles that talked about eventually having GPS for pets being an implant, like the micro-chip ID's we have now. Wouldn't that be cool?! Then I wouldn't even have to worry about him losing his collar and hence his tracker at the same time. I saw another article that claimed this technology already exists, but that it was shot down by privacy activists. No idea if that is true or not, but I for one would love to see that technology be available on the market for pets! :)

Byrd
December 29th, 2006, 10:15 PM
Perhaps if they had a code where the GPS was only activated when the owner gave a password. The regular microchip details that we have now could be used anytime. Wouldn't interfere with privacy issues that way.