I’ve mentioned before that my dogs primarily walk off leash. I’m lucky enough to live where I have free access to fields, woods, ponds, creeks, sand pits, and remote dirt roads. I take full advantage of all of that when I’m exercising the mutts. All three have good recall, but occasionally I’ve lost track of someone during a walk and scared myself half to death. Usually, it’s Huckleberry, who likes to sniff around, which leads to him getting left behind. He’s easy enough to find, but it’s still scary. Once, he got tired and took himself back to my husband’s Nana’s house. I spent 45 minutes tromping through a freshly disked field, in the dark, while he hung out with my father-in-law and played with Nana’s dogs. That was the night I became interested in GPS collars for the dogs, and since purchasing our Tagg GPS trackers, I’ve been delighted with them.
Tagg units are less expensive than comparable GPS trackers because they work through the Verizon network. There is a small monthly fee for continued service. The first pet is $7.95/month and each additional pet is $0.99/month. You can add up to 9 pets in a single household. I was buying for 3 dogs, so the low cost add-on was a powerful motivator for me. Also, the battery life is longer than similar units because the Tagg charger functions as a base station, so when your pet is within a set distance, the tracker goes on power saving mode. When I first got them, I was playing with them constantly; as a result, the battery only lasted a week. With my current settings, I can go over 2 weeks without needing to charge anything. When set for maximum battery life, the tracker can last up to 4 weeks without a charge. Tagg sends text messages and e-mails about the unit status, including notifications that the battery needs to be charged. It takes less than 2 hours to completely charge the unit, and you’re notified when it’s ready to go back on your dog.
Because it functions through the cell network, I’m able to locate my dogs from any smartphone or computer, rather than having to use a handheld that only works with the GPS. I have a Windows phone, so there is no Tagg app for me, but there is one for Android and iPhone. Even without an app, I’ve been very happy with the information I can get through the mobile site. I’m able to see a map view of the location of any one of my dogs. From the regular site on my phone, I can see a satellite view of the location of all 3 dogs, and track the movement of one dog at a time. When I locate my dogs, I can also receive an e-mail with the nearest address and a map view of the dog’s current location. Because I’m in the country, some areas have spotty mobile internet, and sometimes this loads better than the full map page in the middle of the woods. From a desktop computer, I can locate all 3 dogs, track one dog, change the settings for e-mails and text messages, and see my dog’s activity for the past 30 days.
The units attach easily to my dogs’ harnesses, and using the included neoprene Tagg Guard, I haven’t had one fall off yet, despite lots of roughhousing and running around in thick brush. If my dogs haven’t lost one, I don’t think they’re coming off. I will note that you have to tuck the zipper of the Tagg Guard under to keep it from coming unzipped in the woods, but once I figured that out, they haven’t opened unless I do it. Sometimes the tracker itself will come partially unclipped, and I get a text message alerting me, but I can easily clip it back into place without removing the bag. Often, the dogs will clip it back into place themselves. Because I have mine on harnesses instead of collars, occasionally one of the dogs will roll over onto the power button and hold it down long enough to turn it off. I get a text message alerting me, and can immediately turn it back on, but I don’t think it will be an issue for people using the tracker on a collar. It’s only happened when they’re home relaxing, not out running around, so it doesn’t impact my use of the tracker.
My dogs aren’t escape artists, but I know lots of people who could use this next feature. The tracker can be set to send a text message or e-mail if your dog leaves the Home Zone, which can be set around the charger/base station. The minimum area is a little bigger than our lot, so depending on where you live, your dog might be able to run to the neighbor’s house without you being alerted, but they won’t make it much further. For me, the text message has always arrived in less than 3 minutes, but because it goes through the cell network, the site FAQs state that it may take up to 10 minutes.
I didn’t expect to use the activity tracking, but I actually really like the feature. Activity is broken up into 4 categories, Resting, Light, Moderate, and High. Moderate is described as a brisk human walking pace, and observing the data that’s reported from my dogs, that definition seems accurate. To make it easier to compare dogs and days, activity is assigned points, with more points being awarded for more activity. I just find it interesting to see how active the dogs are. For dogs with activity goals or health conditions, this could be a great way to track their progress in a concrete way. The activity data syncs at least once a day and each time your dog returns to the Home Zone.
Reading older reviews, the company seems to listen to their customers and address common concerns. Most of the issues I was concerned about before ordering were fixed when I received my Taggs. Living somewhere with poor Verizon coverage will prevent you from using Tagg, but otherwise, I think they’re a fantastic improvement on microchips and identification tags. I still use both, but because it’s common to let dogs roam in my area, I’m not confident our neighbors would be much help if my dogs were ever lost. The ability to pinpoint their location myself and simply go get them gives me a lot of peace of mind. The company has a generous 30-day return policy and a 1-year warranty, so it’s possible to try them out and make sure they’ll work for you and your dog, which is great if you’re not sure about them or you’re not sure about the Verizon coverage in your area. One of my units did quit holding a charge, but the issue was resolved with a brief call to customer service. A new tracker is in the mail, and I’m supposed to mail the old one back in the box with prepaid shipping.
I’ve been very pleased with my Tagg pet trackers, and I’m very glad I purchased them. I’m happy to see GPS technology becoming more affordable and available to more people to keep their pets safe and from getting lost.