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Whether you’re navigating the wilds of the Amazon River or the boroughs of New York City, GPS is a great tool for pinpointing your location.  But, have you thought about using GPS to track your dog?  If you’re currently using a good GPS dog tracker, that’s great!  If you don’t use a dog tracker, or if you use one but aren’t really satisfied, then this article is for you!  Please read on to discover more about it.

In this article I’ll describe the basics of how dog trackers work and why GPS trackers are better than radio collars for dog training, locating, and safety. 

How Dog Trackers Work 

Pet trackers come in two basic forms―GPS and Radio.  Both types of trackers have their specific functions and limitations.  However, modern GPS tracker units are the hands-down favorite of most pet owners.  The “old tech” radio collars are mostly used by hunters to train bird retrieving dogs or by property owners to train watchdogs. 

GPS dog tracking systems work with smartphone apps.  They are ideal positive training systems for both professional dog trainers and loving dog parents.  GPS dog tracking systems are high-tech, multi-functional dog training/monitoring aids.  These systems offer a toolbox full of uses, including a record of the dog’s daily activities.

Conversely, radio trackers rely on “old school” technology similar to that of walkie-talkies.  Radio collars aren’t really “trackers”.  They don’t track or record a dog’s activities.  These are simply discipline training devices with a single purpose.   Radio trackers are mostly used to train and discipline hunting dogs (retrievers, pointers, hounds, etc.).  They’ve been used for decades and are pretty much limited to a single purpose―negative reinforcement.  These devices use low voltage shock which punishes working dogs for unwanted behavior like running away or prematurely flushing game.  Obviously on Pet Hooligans we never advocate negative reinforcement for our pups and that’s just one reason we would steer clear of radio trackers – but it’s important to be aware of the differences.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the differences between the two types of collars

and why our choice is always the GPS option:


GPS Trackers

  • Can report your dog’s location and activities in real-time
  • Will record every place your dog has been 
  • Can work with a GeoFence to alert you when your dog strays
  • Use cellular data to transmit/record dog’s location from anywhere
  • Have unlimited range, low purchase prices, and low-cost subscriptions
  • Are lightweight, fully waterproof, and easy to use
  • Attach easily to most collars and won’t affect the dog’s comfort or movement
  • Are fully rechargeable and safe for dogs and owners.

Radio Trackers

  • Don’t track or record a dog’s activities or location
  • Don’t use positive reinforcement for good behavior
  • Are limited to short “walkie-talkie” type reception
  • Use negative electrical shock to train/discipline dogs
  • Don’t work well in water―can be a health hazard when dog is wet
  • Expensive to buy ($200-$1000 or more) but no recurring fees.

My Recommended GPS Tracker

There are lots of GPS dog trackers on the market today.  In my opinion, one of the best is the Tractive GPS Tracker.  Here’s why:

  1. The Tractive GPS easily fits on just about any collar
  2. It is easy to use and it won’t impede or harm the dog
  3. The Tractive is affordably priced and cheap to use
  4. It’s compatible with Geo-Fencing to set up perimeter limits
  5. Tractive GPS gives live tracking data so you always know where your dog is
  6. It records a history of everywhere your dog has been
  7. Tractive allows you to set alerts such as loud barking or straying issues
  8. It has a rechargeable battery which will last for 2 to 5 days of monitoring
  9. Tractive offers free apps for iOS, Android and PCs.

The Tractive GPS is also available at Amazon or from the manufacturer’s website.

Tractive 3G GPS Dog Tracker – Dog Tracking Device with Unlimited Range

Click Image For More Info on Amazon

The Tractive GPS tracker keeps you informed about your dog’s location and activities in ways that the radio collar systems simply don’t do.  You always know where your dog is and what it’s up to with the Tractive.  As a dog parent there’s a lot of comfort in knowing that your dog is safe and behaving when you’re away.  With either iOS or Android it’s easy to check on your dog.  Simply use your smartphone, tablet or PC to be mindful of your dog at all times.

You’ll be able to train, watch, and love your dog with the Tractive GPS tracker system.  It is designed for your dog’s safety and for your peace of mind.  There are several good GPS dog tracking systems on the market, but this is one of the best products―perhaps, the best.


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