Dog GPS tracker – Can a GPS tracker be used on any dog?
I never really thought about it until 3 weeks ago, when I found myself involved in a search in my local woods. As far I was concerned all dogs and their owners would benefit a GPS tracker.
I was not aware that a dog was missing. I usually get alerts from the Dog Lost community and I had received none on that specific day.
I have been involved in many lost dogs’ searches over the years, and I have always imagined how easier it would be, for all involved, and more importantly the dog and the owner, if the dog had been fitted with a GPS tracker.
Being able to see the dog’s movements as soon as he is declared “lost” is crucial. Dogs can travel long distances very quickly and it is difficult to guess where they’ll end up once they start running or when they run out of energy.The longer a dog is on the run, looking for his owner or just running away from some real or perceived danger, the more difficult it will likely be to catch him.
However the dog that was “lost” on that day, a few weeks ago, was a persistent runaway whose owners had got tired of endlessly looking for him and had therefore fitted him with a dog GPS tracker. I was trying to understand the logic behind this decision as I was looking for the dog. Why would you want to fit a GPS tracker on a dog that runs away?
He had already used up 2 of the 6 hours battery life of his GPS tracker when I got involved in the search. The owner could see on their phone where he was and could see that he was often crossing a busy road. Approaching him was of no use as the dog had no intention of going home and would run away from his owner. Coaxing him away from the busy road had to be the sensible option.
So how useful was a GPS Tracker in this situation? Apart from giving the owner a false sense of confidence that they could control their dog and therefore let him off the lead, I can’t see the point of fitting a GPS tracker on a dog that runs away from his owner and does not wish to be caught, or not until the need to run is totally out of his system.
After 6 hours, the dog started to slow down and his tracker “texted” the owner that the battery was running low. The dog was stationary at times. I was hoping that he had not been hit by a car and was not lying injured under a bush. Friends of the owner made their way to the area where he was last tracked by the GPS, with their own dogs. The runaway dog saw them and simply went and joined them. He was finally ready to go home.
So what is the lesson here? Not to place a GPS tracker on a serial runaway, a dog who needs to run for hours and will ignore his owner and even run away from them until finally exhausted? I suppose that at least the owner knew where their dog was running around and where to concentrate their search but at what cost? He crossed a main and busy road at least 7 times, nearly got hit by a car close to where we were and by the time we reached the spot he had already disappeared! What if he had caused serious injury to the public? Is letting him off the lead worth it? Does a GPS tracker justify letting him off the lead? No, absolutely not.
A dog GPS tracker is usually used as a precaution on dogs that might accidentally become separated from their owner or walker. It is, in this case, a safety net, a preventative measure, in case the dog is accidentally spooked by a loud noise or for other reasons, runs away or goes into hiding, or simply gets stuck in a bush or fence and is unable to rejoin his owner.
The GPS tracker is a peace of mind in case an unplanned event occurs that might lead the dog to run and get lost. It allows the owner or walker to concentrate their search on a specific area and for volunteers, when possible and required, to join the search. It increases the likelihood of the dog being reunited with his owner as quickly as possible. A GPS tracker allows the owner or walker to react immediately to the situation and ensure that they do not lose contact with the dog.
There are different types of GPS trackers currently on the market. Among others,the Tractive GPS Tracker allows you to check the location of your dog in a browser or using one of our free mobile apps for smartphones. It has the added advantage of a SAFE ZONE alert when your dog wanders off your location, the Tracca Dog GPS tracker is supported by a Live App that gives instant and precise location.
There are several more on offer and I will over the next few weeks attempt to compare their technicality and functionality.