It’s getting a lot easier to track your dog at all times of day and night. Thanks to the invention of locator chips, which are also known as global positioning system (GPS) tracking chips, dogs that stray from your yard can be tracked and found if outfitted with one of these devices.
Locator chips differ from microchips in that they are implanted in dogs. GPS tracking chips are too large to be implanted in the dog’s skin, so they must be worn externally on a collar. Locator chips require batteries to power them.
There are several kinds of GPS tracking systems for pets. The least expensive models are designed for pet owners who want to know where their pets are. More complex units allow dog owners to “follow” their hunting dogs. Other units allow for the tracking of multiple dogs.
As with any new technology, there are pros and cons. While locator chips are an excellent tool, they are not the only one that should be used. GPS tracking chips should be used in conjunction with identification tags, dog license tags (if your state requires one) and microchips in order to give your dog the best security you can provide.
The simplest animal locators are the handheld models. These can utilize a handheld device or a base unit that the dog’s owner keeps handy at all times. Not only will it provide you with information as to your dog’s location. You can use the some of the handheld units to communicate with your dog through a cell phone modem or radio signals. Radio signal units have a limited range of about a mile. However, they may work when there is no cell phone service. Most handheld models will tell you the coordinates of the dog’s current location, the direction in which the animal is traveling and the speed in which he or she is moving.
If the GPS device you choose doesn’t have a handheld or base unit, you will most likely be able to use a cell phone to track the dog. Some tracking devices allow you to call or text service companies that can provide you with the coordinates for the location of your dog.
Some GPS tracking systems allow you to create a virtual fence around your yard. You set the perimeters by walking the area while holding the device. Save the information and you will be alerted if your dog crosses the fence line.
Some locator systems allow you to send a message to the unit on the dog’s collar. These devices include a strobe light or a device capable of making a loud noise. If you are deep in the woods and your dog has strayed, this type of device will allow you to activate the light or noisemaker so that you can see or hear the dog.
Locator chip devices designed to track hunting dogs usually provide a great deal of information. They are designed for use in all types of terrain and they can be used to track more than one dog at a time. Some of the units can be set up to alert you when the dog is on point (an indication that he or she has found an animal).
Cost varies depending on the GPS tracking system’s features. Simple handheld units can be bought for less than $100. The more complex tracking systems can easily cost several hundred dollars.