top rated gps dog collars for tracking your dog hiking hunting
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Best GPS Dog Collar Tracker for keeping track of your dog

do you let your dog walk off-leash?

If you do, you should consider getting a GPS dog collar tracker

Whether you let your pup loose on hikes in the woods, roaming around your large rural property, hunting or casual walks a GPS tracking system is important for the safety of your dog.

You may have considered getting a GPS tracker for them in case they’re a little slow to return and you become concerned about their whereabouts.

If you have a dog who is prone to escaping or running away, you should definitely consider getting a GPS tracker.

common questions  

  • Benefits of a GPS tracker versus a microchip or just updated tags on your dog’s collar?
  • Are GPS trackers really worth the money?
  • What sort of features do they have? Do they require monthly service fees?
  • Which GPS tracker would be the best for your particular situation?
  • Which Top Rated GPS dog collar overs more bang for the buck?

There’s a lot to know about GPS dog trackers, and we’re here to answer your questions.

Why invest in a GPS dog collar tracker?

7% of lost dogs are never found. Nearly half of all lost dogs who are found were found by the owner roaming around the neighborhood – wouldn’t you rather know exactly where your dog has run off to, rather than just guessing?

ID tags or microchips only resulted in 15% of lost dogs finding their way home.

The problem with microchips is that there isn’t one universal device to read them. If your dog winds up at a vet clinic with the wrong microchip reader or with a person who found your dog but is reluctant to return them, a microchip won’t help.

If you enjoy taking your dog hiking or hunting off leash, you never know when they might encounter trouble out of your sight.

Unfortunately, accidents happen, and knowing exactly where your dog was when he met trouble and stopped moving on the GPS screen could mean the difference between life and death.

It could even mean the difference between finding your dog and getting him to the vet on time or combing the woods for hours and never even stumbling upon your dog’s body.

GPS trackers are basically insurance policies that you will be able to find your dog, whether he has run away from home or run into trouble on a hike. Isn’t that peace of mind worth the price of a GPS tracker?

GPS vs. Microchip

A microchip is useful if your lost dog winds up at a shelter or a veterinarian with the correct microchip reader. Since microchips are placed under the skin, they can’t fall off or get lost like a regular collar or tags.

Unfortunately, the only way a microchip helps you find your dog is if somebody scans it and calls you.

Microchips and ID tags only help 15% of lost dogs find their way home. If your dog is wandering lost, you won’t be able to track his movements from a microchip.

GPS works with satellites and sometimes cell towers to give you updates on your dog’s location as often as once every 2.5 seconds, meaning you always know where he is, regardless of where he winds up.

Does that mean you should forgo a microchip entirely?

Of course not. Tags and collars can fall off – or be removed. If you have a dog that tends to run away or spends a lot of time off leash, the best thing to do is make sure that your dog has current ID tags, an updated microchip, and a GPS tracker. 

The combination of all 3 items gives you the best chance of getting your dog back.

tips for choosing a GPS dog collar tracker

GPS trackers come with a wide range of available features, so you’ll need to decide how, when, and where you will need to use the tracker.

Many GPS trackers work on cellular networks and communicate directly with an app on your smart phone. This can help increase accuracy if you live in an urban location with plenty of cell towers, but there is always a service fee involved and it may not be useful in rural areas with spotty cell phone coverage.

These trackers tend to be cheaper than units that don’t rely on cell coverage.

Some GPS trackers use only GPS, with or without GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite System), to track your dog in even the most remote locations. These units come with a separate handheld device to display your dog’s location. These units can typically track many different dog collars or handheld devices of the same style, which is ideal for hunting with buddies to help prevent tragic accidents.

Some of these devices even have additional functions that allow you to use tones, vibrations, and/or shocks to train or recall your dog, giving you a way to have your dog turn around and return to you without shouting or whistling through the otherwise peaceful woods and potentially disturbing game.

These devices tend to be significantly more expensive than simpler trackers that rely on cell towers and may require a yearly subscription to a service that keeps your maps updated.

Once you have a pretty good idea of what features you think might be useful, you can look through our list of the top 5 GPS dog trackers to find the one that will work best for you and your dog.

#1. whistle 3 - gPS pet & activity tracker

The Whistle 3 GPS Pet Tracker is the number-one-rated location and activity tracker on Amazon. It’s a small device that attaches to just about any dog collar that is one inch wide or smaller. It uses GPS and Wi-Fi to keep track of your dog’s location and uses AT&T’s cellular 3G network to send you that information.

When your dog is within a designated Wi-Fi safe zone, the GPS is turned off, which helps to preserve the battery life. As soon as your dog leaves the safe zone, the GPS switches on and you are alerted via a text or email. Your dog’s location is then updated every minute or so (as long as they are within range of an AT&T tower).

Since the system relies on a cellular network, there is a monthly activation fee of anywhere from $9.95 per month to pay on a monthly basis to as little as $6.95 for paying for 2 years up front.

PROS

  • It is relatively cheap (compared to many other GPS trackers). -It’s waterproof.
  • You don’t need to purchase a separate SIM card.
  • Only one subscription is required to track multiple dogs or send alerts to multiple people.
  • The device also tracks your dog’s activity level, so you can have a more accurate idea of how much exercise your dog is getting.
  • The app sends you an alert when the battery is running low. It also sends one once it’s finished charging.
  • It has one of the longest-lasting batteries on the market. If your dog stays within the “safe” Wi-Fi zone, the battery can last as long as a week. It fully charges within 2 hours.

CONS

  • Since it relies on a cellular network, it may not work well in very rural areas.
  • It requires Wi-Fi, a smart phone, and Bluetooth to set up and takes about 10 minutes.
  • Even if you choose to pay monthly, you are committed to a one-year service contract.
  • Like any GPS, it won’t work if the battery dies, so it’s important to keep it charged. If your dog spends most of his time outside the Wi-Fi safe zone, the battery will need to be charged daily.

#2. link AKC smart gPS collar

TheLink AKL Smart GPS Collar is a lightweight and affordable option for everyday use. They have an app that allows you to connect up to 10 collars! Perfect for the professional dog walker or individual dogs. With the alert options you are notified if your dog ever leaves the designated safe area. The design and comfort of this collar is one of the best on the market. It is easy to put on and you won’t have to worry about it falling off your pup!

If you have a dog that loves escapes the house a lot this collar is perfect for you. Having your pup wearing this will give you a peace of mind knowing that you always know where he is.  

PROS

  • It’s water resistant.
  • You can link up to 10 collars with only one app.
  • You get an alert if your dog leaves a designated safe zone.
  • While some GPS units have lag time as long as 3 minutes, the Link AKC uses real-time tracking.
  • It links to an app on your smart phone, so there’s no need for an additional handheld device.
  • It’s one of the best-looking collars on the market, with a seamless flow between the collar and the GPS unit.
  • They offer free collar upsizing for growing puppies so you don’t need to keep buying new collars.

CONS

  • You need a smart phone to use it.
  • Service can be spotty in rural areas without enough cellular towers around.
  • The battery only lasts a day or so.
  • LED feature allows you to see your dog at night.
  • Since it uses ATT&T’s cellular network, it requires a service plan that ranges from $6.95 to $9.95 per month depending on how often you pay.
  • It only works in the United States, so it isn’t a good choice if you live or travel outside the United States.

The Garmin Astro 430/T 5 Dog Tracking Bundle tracks up to 20 dogs from a range of up to 9 miles via GPS and uses radio signals to transmit your dog’s location to the handheld device. GPS/GLONASS reception offers better satellite tracking in challenging environments than GPS alone.

The device comes with TOPO U.S 100K mapping already downloaded and includes one free year of BirdsEye Satellite Imaging, after which you need to pay for a subscription in order to keep your maps updated.

Performance data shows distance traveled, time afield, and more, so you can train your dog more effectively.

You can get notifications when your dog has stopped and even receive bark notifications.

#3. Garmin Alpah 100 tT 15 dog GPS bundle

Designed for keeping track of hunting dogs in the field, the Garmin Alpha 100 TT 15 Bundle helps you track as many as 20 dogs and/or hunting buddies. It’s also a training device, with varying levels of tones and vibrations to recall your dog if he gets too close to danger or too far away.

Unlike other models, this GPS unit does not rely on cellular signals to track your dog, and you can give him training corrections from up to 9 miles away to deter him from chasing unwanted game or crossing busy streets and to encourage him to come back without the need to disturb the quiet with a shout or a whistle.

This high-sensitivity GPS with GLONASS is preloaded with TOPO U.S. 100k maps and comes with a 1-year subscription for free map updates. It also has LED beacon lights and a rescue mode.

PROS

  • The 3” touch screen on the handheld device claims to work with gloves.
  • It’s great for recalling dogs that have already been trained.
  • Easy to use right out of the box.
  • Not only can you keep track of multiple dogs, but you can keep track of your hunting buddies as well. Knowing where everybody is can help prevent accidents.
  • A geoperimeter can be set up as an invisible property boundary, allowing you to recall your dog before he wanders too far away from your property.
  • The handheld unit will beep or vibrate to alert you when your hunting dog points to or trees a game animal.
  • Unlike many other dog GPS trackers, this one allows you to train your dog to come when you send either a tone or a vibration to the collar. No more shouting to recall your dog when he wanders too far out of sight on an off-leash hike.

CONS

  • It’s very expensive.
  • While it is waterproof, the unit will sink instead of float if it falls off your dog.
  • While the basic functionality is easy to learn, it can take a lot of time to fully understand all of its myriad features.
  • If you need more than 3 stimulation modes ready to go, it can take too long to flip through menus on the touch screen to appropriately train a new dog.

CAUTION

  • Dogs may be bothered at first by the 5” standard-range antenna or the 13” extended-range antenna.
  • The battery in the collar only lasts a day or two, and the battery in the handheld device lasts less than a day.
  • While it is waterproof, the unit will sink instead of float if it falls off your dog.
  • While the basic functionality is easy to learn, it can take a lot of time to fully understand all of its myriad features.
  • The touchscreen may be oversensitive and is reported by reviewers to be unreliable with gloves.
  • It’s not ideal for training new dogs.

#4. Garmin Astro 430/T 5 Dog Tracking Bundle

The Garmin Astro 430/T 5 Dog Tracking Bundle tracks up to 20 dogs from a range of up to 9 miles via GPS and uses radio signals to transmit your dog’s location to the handheld device. GPS/GLONASS reception offers better satellite tracking in challenging environments than GPS alone.

The device comes with TOPO U.S 100K mapping already downloaded and includes one free year of BirdsEye Satellite Imaging, after which you need to pay for a subscription in order to keep your maps updated.

Performance data shows distance traveled, time afield, and more, so you can train your dog more effectively.

You can get notifications when your dog has stopped and even receive bark notifications.

The groundbreaking industry-standard Garmin Astro just got better. 

The new Astro 430 can track twice as many dogs with an update rate that’s twice as fast as previous models. With the new drive track 70 LMT, hound hunters can track big running dogs from their truck on a large and easy to read display. Plus data from the Astro 430 can be viewed on any Garmin Phoenix 3 GPS watch. Providing a hands-free glance at a dog’s distance direction and vibration alerts when a dog trees or points game.

This is the Astro 430. It’s a new handheld that improves upon the number of dogs you can track at one time, up to 20. You can also get update rates every two and a half seconds. So for the guys that are running a big pack of hounds it’s definitely some improvements.

Similar to some Garmin’s other units it has complete topographical mapping of the entire United States. With the purchase you also get a one-year subscription to bird’s eye satellite imagery. Bird’s eye satellite is high-resolution satellite images of the entire United States that you can download onto the unit. The GPS dog collar tracker is also compatible with hunt view.

Hunt view is state-by-state maps that show land ownership, so you always know that you’re legal at any given time. The map page allows you to zoom in and out in order to see roads and topographical lines. Another great feature is the dog page. The dog page will tell the direction that your dog is and where they are in location to you. It even shows the dog status whether it’s running, treeing or pointing.

One of the coolest things about the new Astro 430 is its compatibility with two other units in the Garmin lineup. 

It connects wirelessly to any Fenix 3 watch. Basically what it does is it sends the position of your dogs to your watch allowing you to see where your dog is at a glance. This is really nice capability for anybody that already owns at Phoenix 3.

The other device that we have is the Garmin Drive Track 70 LMT. It’s a nice 7-inch touchscreen navigator that you put on the dash of your truck. When you’re following those country roads out in the middle of nowhere you’ve got a nice bright big display that you can track your dogs and actually navigate to them.

Garmin is adding convenience by making it more than an individual system. What they’re trying to do is incorporate all of these different devices into one dog tracking lineup. You’ve got your Astro 430 dog collar, the Phoenix 3 watch and the Drive track 70 GPS monitor. These are all key innovations and there’s nothing else like that out there, only from Garmin.

PROS

  • Topographical maps show terrain, water, and more.
  • You can track up to 20 dogs from up to 9 miles away.
  • The handheld device includes a compass that will point you in the exact direction of your dog.
  • It can be connected to other Garmin devices.
  • It’s waterproof.
  • Your dog’s location is refreshed as frequently as every 2.5 seconds, which is faster than some other devices. That helps keep more accurate tabs on dogs who are running.
  • Not only does it have a rechargeable battery, but it also takes AA batteries – a great backup to have in case the charge runs out.

CONS

  • It only has GPS tracking; it does not offer vibrations or shocks for training or recalling dogs.
  • After the first free year, you have to pay for the BirdsEye Satellite Imagery subscription in order to update the maps.
  • The collar may be too large for small dogs. The T 5 mini collar device is recommended for smaller dogs, but it only has a tracking range of up to 4 miles.

#5. Sportdog GPS Tracking + E-Collar System

The SportDOG Brand TEK Series 2.0 GPS Tracking + E-Collar System allows you to not only track your dog for up to 10 miles, but with 99 shock levels, it can be an excellent training device. The handheld device is preloaded with 1:100,000 topographical maps that update without any subscription fees.

The product was designed in the field for the most practical usage, and the company promises to always create “Gear The Way You’d Design It.”

PROS

  • Both the collar and handheld device are waterproof.
  • It can track dogs up to 10 miles away.
  • Geofences let you know when your dog has strayed outside a predetermined area.
  • With no touchscreen, there is less accidental bumping and it’s easier to use with gloves.
  • It can track up to 21 dogs and/or handheld devices, helping keep hunters safe because they can see each other’s locations when hunting together.
  • Available Bluetooth compatibility allows you to hear your dog’s direction and status without looking at the handheld device, leaving your hands free.

CONS

  • The collar battery only lasts up to 24 hours, and the handheld device battery only lasts up to 8 hours.
  • Additional collars or handheld devices need to be purchased separately in order to track multiple dogs or hunters.
  • The power switch on the handheld is in an awkward location that can be difficult for large or gloved fingers to reach.
  • Tracking depends on the collar being within line of site of the handheld device, meaning that hills and forests can make it less accurate.
  • It’s extremely expensive.