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What is a GPS Dog Collar and Activity Tracker? 

What is a GPS Dog Collar and Activity Tracker? 

Being able to track your dog’s whereabouts—while also having the peace of mind that he can mill about on his own terms—is a gift to both dog and pet parent alike. The activity tracking feature of the Wagz Freedom Collar utilizes GPS to quell the nagging voice that asks, “Is my dog getting enough exercise in a given day?” If your vet has mentioned any extra pounds your pup has put on from your toddler’s generously dropped mashed potatoes or from the guilty pleasure of sneaking your pal an extra treat here and there, you’ll feel better knowing you’re doing right by him. 

If you’ve got a runner, a rescue, a hunter, or a hide-and-seeker (maybe or even all the above, depending on the day), using a GPS collar is indispensable—particularly when it comes to finding your dog amid different locations and terrain. The Wagz App works with the Freedom Collar to tell you whether your dog is in motion and exactly how close they are to you or the geofence you’ve created. If they’ve gone too far, the collar will use multiple types of 100% humane, shock-free corrections (audible, ultrasonic, or vibration-based, depending on user settings and preferences) to steer doggo in the right direction. Knowing where your curious pup has innocently followed his nose can quickly become a crucial part of dog ownership, particularly in panic moments that leave you calling your dog who...just wanted to “chase” a motivated rabbit!

A GPS Collar can also serve as a fitness tracker for Fido. By using GPS signals, the Wagz App and collar become an activity tracker that monitors your dog’s exercise and sleep. Through our Kognition® platform, the app can synthesize this data, along with breed, ambient temperature, and more, to  give your dog a Health & Happiness Score that helps you keep tabs on your hound’s wellbeing. 

The goal of using a GPS collar and activity tracker really is a drama-free relationship with your dog. All dog owners wonder, “What is my dog thinking?” and, “Does she know how cute she is right now?” But “Where has she gone off to?” and, “Is she getting enough activity?” are questions that can finally be quieted. 

Do you really need a smart collar for your dog? Not necessarily. But if you want the peace of mind for yourself and the freedom for your dog to be a dog, a smart collar is a smart choice. 

How do GPS Trackers for Dogs Work?

You love the idea of a GPS tracker, especially because you’ve come to dread the fact that there are more bunnies than people in your town. But what exactly is a GPS tracker, and how does it work? 

First, let’s start with what a GPS dog collar isn’t: The GPS collar is not like a microchip, for which your vet is typically the provider. A microchip implant for your dog acts as a static data-storing device that, when scanned, will indicate who your pet belongs to and where she really belongs (i.e., likely not in the neighbor’s orchard). The chip lives under her skin and is designed to last the duration of her life, but it cannot determine her location. Lost-and-found pets with a microchip need to be brought to a facility that has a chip scanner in order to read the data that’s stored on the microchip itself. It is a passive system that only works in emergencies and with special equipment. 

On the other hand, GPS tracking devices, like the Wagz Freedom Smart Dog Collar, actively monitor your dog’s whereabouts in real time. They work by communicating between the GPS tracking device attached to the dog’s collar and a network of navigation satellites circling the planet. Just like your phone, the collar picks up on constant signals sent out by the satellites to automagically calculate the distance between their locations in space and the GPS collar on your dog. The result: his location at any given moment.  That data is sent to the Wagz App on your phone, which then locates your dog on a map. A little technical, perhaps, but you can rest easy knowing that your dog’s whereabouts never go unaccounted for when wearing a GPS tracker like the Wagz Freedom Smart Dog Collar.

If you happen to be the kind of dog parent who enjoys leashed walks with your pup, you might wonder why you would want or need a collar with GPS tracking when she’s already under your control. The short answer is it’s not just for dogs that might run away. The Wagz Freedom Collar uses GPS to power its activity tracker that can monitor your dog’s walks—and yours, too, if you’re walking with her. Moreover, if you leave your pet pal with a dog walker during the day, it provides the comfort of knowing she can never be lost and is always getting the exercise she needs.

Because this is the year you’ve finally decided to offload as many unnecessary burdens as possible, the GPS dog collar feels like a no-brainer. Your next question is probably: how much does it cost to use a GPS tracker with your dog? Fortunately, your commitment to canine care doesn’t come with a painful price tag. And the no-shock features of the Wagz Freedom Smart Dog Collar extends to the price tag. At just under $250—plus free shipping—and with the free Wagz App, your resolution is within reach. For GPS coverage, a subscription is required, available on a monthly or annual basis. But it’s all worth it, knowing that you’ll have peace of mind and your well-cared-for and happy-go-lucky sidekick will have a world that just got much larger.

What is the Range of a GPS Dog Tracker?

Who would ever have thought that a Sputnik-era invention developed by NASA and the U.S. Navy would develop decades later into a safety and peace-of-mind mechanism for our favorite four-legged-family members? Thankfully, GPS has evolved to be a widely available, finely-honed technology for even the most non-spy-savvy among us. Most GPS services and devices—including GPS dog tracking collars—only require an Internet connection, usually provided by a standard cell service or Wi-Fi.

The Wagz Freedom Collar cellular LTE service plan, created in partnership with one of the nation’s top cellular providers, is covered by your Wagz subscription, which means that potentially spotty service from your phone’s cell provider won’t affect GPS coverage for your dog.  The range of your dog’s GPS tracker is typically dependent on GPS signal strength. When the signals are strongest, GPS dog collars are accurate to within a 10-foot (three-meter) range. GPS signal strength can vary depending on a variety of factors, such as the line of sight to the sky and surrounding obstacles, so accuracy could be +/- 50 feet (+/- 15 meters). When creating your virtual geofence on the Wagz App, allowing extra room around the fence can account for factor variability (there’s no size limit to the fence). 

The dashboard on the Wagz App will always provide clarity around GPS signal strength. And since the GPS collar is constantly communicating with three GPS satellites, it’s easy to triangulate and monitor your pet’s location at all times. While a data connection is used to automatically update you and help keep tabs on your dog, the frequency of updates is entirely under your control. Connecting to Bluetooth or Wi-Fi on your phone will allow for more monitoring capabilities, but rest easy. When those are not available, the Wagz App will always default to cellular as a backup. The refresh settings can be customized and changed in the app as often as your needs dictate. Even with a longer refresh time selected, you can still locate your dog at any time from the dashboard of the Wagz App.

Being able to track multiple dogs at once is also supported by the Wagz App. You can create separate or shared geofences for any and all of them, and each geofence can be toggled on or off depending on the circumstance. Because each fence is virtual, land impediments such as rivers, streams, roads, and rocks don’t face the same challenges that an actual buried or upright physical fence would. Installation of a virtual GPS fence requires only a finger and a phone. In other words, save your work gloves for a different project! Regardless of the number of dogs or fences you have in place, you can effortlessly and painlessly use the Wagz Freedom Smart Dog Collar with GPS to track each of your dogs using one simple interface. 

And yes, you can take the “painlessly” part literally. The Wagz Freedom Collar trains your dog using a variety of 100% humane,  animal-friendly, cruelty-free feedback mechanisms. Shock collars have been known to evoke quite a number of unfavorable outcomes, from psychological stress, burns, and heart attacks to anxiety and aggression. Because we can never really know what our dogs are physically feeling, humane training options are always your best bet. The Wagz Freedom Smart Dog Collar is the only one to use ultrasonic, audible, and vibration corrections to train dogs without shocking them. 

The most recent dog training research has shown that positive reinforcement yields the most favorable long-term outcomes around pets and their pet-parent relationships. When your dog knows he can trust you and senses that you have his best interests in mind, the bond is strengthened by leaps and bounds. You do small things for your pets every day. Doing what’s best for your dog through loving and positive reinforcement-based training communicates that he can have trust in you.

Now, because the GPS collar is not a microchip, it bears repeating that the GPS collar is—to date—the only technology that can actively track your pet and measure her activity in real time. The microchip, in contrast, is basically an under-the-skin dog tag shrunk onto a small device (about the size of a grain of rice) that, when scanned, will reveal a registration number to help a vet or an animal shelter reunite your dog with you. The chip acts as a backup for a good old-fashioned dog collar and can be helpful if your dog has gone missing without a collar or if it has slipped off. Nonetheless, it should not replace a dog collar or act exclusively as an identifying mechanism.  Ultimately, the range of a GPS dog collar, in tandem with its tracking capabilities, make it the most comprehensive option.

How does the Wagz Freedom Smart Dog Collar Use GPS?

While a simple leather strap and a metal tag with your dog’s name might once have sufficed to keep her safe and accounted for, the standard dog collar alone lacks the ability to take advantage of GPS technology, or any advanced technology for that matter. That’s what smart dog collars do. They use the power of the Internet to create an ecosystem between app, collar, and parent that magically keeps your pet happy and free. 

In the rare chance that your dog is stolen or dognapped, a smart collar with GPS will help locate your pup in real-time. The Wagz Freedom Collar and Wagz App will even map a route to your pup. But beware of danger as it may lead you to the perpetrator, so first call the police and follow their lead. Just make sure to tell them you’ve got a beacon on the burglar with your app!  

To recap, using the Wagz Freedom Smart Dog Collar uses GPS in conjunction with the Wagz App on your phone to let you create a geofence—a wireless containment area—or a Keep Out Zone—an area to keep dogs away from. And it provides activity and health tracking functionality so that you can monitor your dog’s exercise, sleep, and whereabouts, and generate an overall Health & Happiness Score that helps you stay in tune with your pet.

When your dog’s Wagz Freedom Smart Collar uses GPS, it starts an ongoing conversation with GPS satellites. Obviously, your dog can’t understand that communication; but if she could, she’d hear, “Go have fun! We’ve got this.”

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