I was recently out somewhere in public with Lenny, and someone asked me if the device on her collar was “one of those electric things.”
“You mean electronic?” I asked. “Yes, it’s is electronic.”
“Yeah,” they said, “so that if she doesn’t come when called, you can, like, zap her.”
Okay, so it recently came to my attention that people might think I have been using an e-collar on my dumb little beast, and I am here to clear the air: I am not using any sort of shock or electricity to entice my dog to do anything I say. This should be clear based on the fact that my dog doesn’t really do anything I say.
I joke, I joke. She does a lot of things that I say, and more importantly, using a punishment procedure or punishment-based technology would not necessarily improve the situation, and it would come with a host of side effects, which I won’t go into today. Instead, I will tell you about Lenny’s little collar attachment.
The attachment on Lenny’s collar is Tagg, the Pet Tracker. It is a little GPS device that attaches to her collar and sends updates to my phone and email. Rather, Lenny emails me? I’m not sure, the emails always say, “Hi, it’s me.” and then they tell me where she is.
I love the tracker for taking Lenny up to the cabin in New Hampshire, where all the dogs run loose and you might not see them for a little bit. I don’t mind if she’s chasing squirrels in the woods, but I do mind if she is headed off towards the highway, which has never happened, as evidenced by her Tagg updates. I also love it for our off-leash romps through the woods, just so I can occasionally check in and see where she is and what direction she’s headed in.
The tracker is not as fancy as your iPhone – it doesn’t show you a little constantly moving dot. Rather, it gives periodic updates, sometimes in as little as 10 seconds, sometimes taking up to 2-3 minutes. Two or three minutes is plenty of time for a dog to run far away from where the dot is, so that is a definite weakness, but it does tell you, at least, if they’re close and what direction they are headed in.
What would I change? I would love for it to tell me when she is outside a certain distance from me – it would be great if it told me when she’s, say, 100 feet away in any direction, and then when she is within 100 feet of me again. Also, sometimes the light flashes different colors and it’s entirely unclear why. Lastly, it usually kicks in as “outside the Tagg zone” after she’s been out of the zone for 2-5 minutes, so I never get an accurate read of her time out (did the dog walker walk her for 15 minutes? or 40 minutes? Unclear.).
Have you used a GPS for your pets? Any recommendations? Any questions?