I first saw the Tagg Pet Tracker (99.95 for the basic model) last year at one of the local doggie festivals we went to. I am attracted to shiny, techie things like flies to honey though so I was intrigued. I had my doubts about it working for a small dog though because the unit is pretty large – a bit bigger than a silver dollar (and they say it is for dogs over 10 lbs).
When I attended BarkWorld last October, I saw the Tagg tracker again. I talked to a product rep and they were generous enough to send us one for review.
Once it arrives, you have to set up a profile for your pet online (The first three months of the service is free and then it is $7.95 a month after that). It wasn’t hard to set up the account and activate the tracker. It was the middle of the night, I was tired and sick and it took me about 15 minutes to set up, a couple more minutes to download android app and about 10 min to read instructions.
When you set up an account, you must assign the tracker to one dog. That makes sense but I was a little disappointed because I wanted to use the tracker for both Chester and Gretel or Doggie walking clients. I guess I could call it “Jessica’s dog” to use on both Chester and Gretel.
As part of the setup, you are asked to enter an address and set radius around house. When your dog goes outside that radius, you are sent an alert via email and text message. The radius didn’t get really small – only about a block so it won’t tell you when they get out of the yard, only when they wander farther than a block.I think I would like to know a little quicker than that but it’s still a pretty good deal.
Putting it to use does take a learning curve.
You can turn off the alert feature if you are going for a walk or car ride so you don’t set off the alarm if going outside of the home zone. That feature didn’t work for me the first time due to operator error. My mistake gave me a chance to test it out though.
I was driving so I would expect things to be a little off but I was only able to get about 5 miles from my home before I got the first text notice. I am guessing it refreshes about every 5 minutes and it took me 5 minutes to drive there. It gave me an address and said Chester was within 15 feet of that. When I was walking it was very accurate, giving the address of the nearest house.
Once you get a notice that your pet is out of the home zone you can turn on the tracking feature and it will send you a location every 3 minutes for 30 minutes. That worked well.
If , like me, you didn’t enable the “alarm” correctly, you can simply turn off the text notification by texting STOP back to the tracker. I thought that was pretty cool. Let’s pretend your dog IS lost though.
Once you are in pursuit of your dog, you rely on the app to track them. The app is Google Maps based and very accurate. It shows a little dot where your dog is.
The app has a “Directions” feature that is supposed to help guide you to that location (say…in case you were in a strange City or an unfamiliar part of yours). That part could definitely use some improvement.
When I clicked it basically seemed to give me directions from where I was standing to where I was standing. I typed in my address into the from location and it did give accurate directions to my general location but it told me to go to an intersection a block or two away from where our dot was on the map. It would be good for getting you to the general location but then you would have to use the map to hone in.
The tracker comes with two clips and 2 sets of stiff rubber straps to attach to a harness or collar. One set of of them is for narrow straps and and one for wider straps. I am not sure what exactly “small” and “large” are to Tagg but they sell a “small” collar on their website that is 0.75 inches in width and a “large” that is 1 inch.
A note on installing the rubber strap onto the clip: Don’t do what I did and practice with the rubber strap without the collar. I had to pry it off clip with pliers, which was hard, and I could see how doing that a couple of times would stretch it out. You can order replacement clips (and other accessories) 0n the Tagg website if you do break one though.
So how did I like it and what do I think are the cool things about it?
I will be honest, after my initial trail I put it away for a while. I hadn’t quite figured out how to use it properly. There is only one button on the unit that seems to do everything and I am still not sure what the difference is between pressing the button to turn it off/on and pressing the button to merely disable the notifications. I am not giving up though. I am still working to figure it all out.
Luckily, I don’t have Houdini dogs that escape from the yard. If I did, you bet I would make them wear one when they went outside. I don’t have experience with these things but I could see the tracker being useful to track a hunting dog, extra insurance for your service dog (so you can get it back if it gets lost) or if you are hiking with your dog off-leash (which we don’t condone) and there is a possibility that it could run off.
Like I said, I had hoped to use it on my dog walking clients. That way if one did, god forbid, escape from me I would have a lot better chance of finding it. I also though that it would be something I would use if I was going to briefly tie my dog up outside a coffee shop or something. That way if someone stole my dog I would be able to track it….or at least see which way they headed if they find the tracker and take it off.