This weekend we brought home a very nervous foster pup who we had to be very careful did not slip out. It got me thinking about the GPS collar devices available these days for pets and the broader spectrum of techie products available for pet guardians. The specific brands included below are used as examples because of personal experience with them; Sitter for your Critter does not endorse any brand(s) in particular.
Tracking collars that use radio frequency have been around for quite some time. They’re used by almost exclusively by hunters and utilize radio frequencies. In the last couple of years, GPS-enabled devices that attach to almost any collar have been introduced. Many projects have been started but the only widespread one is the Tagg, which is now owned by Whistle.
The Tagg is like your dog’s personal FitBit meets GPS unit. Features include activity monitoring, notifications to one’s smartphone, a waterproof exterior, and most importantly, real-time location tracking! A tracking service is fantastic for any dog but especially for chronic “explorers” or fearful, “flight over fight” dogs. You can read more about the product here.
There are dashcams, nanny cams, and now… pet cams! In truth, many residential cameras are designed for security or other monitoring but some, like Nestcam (formerly Dropcam), include pet monitoring as one of their primary purposes. Whether you’d like to keep tabs on an ailing pet or need to figure out how your pup is getting into the cupboards, indoor residential cameras are a great solution that have become more affordable and user-friendly in recent years. Nestcam even offers a microphone to speak to your pet, night vision, and smartphone notifications for sound or movement. You can read more about it here.
Remote treat dispensers can be useful for a number of reasons. Some types dispense a treat via use of a smartphone app so you can reward your pet even when you’re not home. Let’s say your pup loves to bark, to the dismay of your neighbors. The ability to have a perfectly timed treat drop out of the container the minute she stops barking can be a very effective tool in minimizing her noisy behavior.
Other types utilize a handheld remote that has a limited range. For pups who love to rush the door when company arrives or be underfoot at dinnertime, this can be a great tool to teach them a more appropriate place to be. And they’ll want to be there!
While I personally believe nothing brings us closer to our dogs than getting off the grid with them, these technologies stand to help us better communicate, help reduce their anxieties, and keep them safe.