Dog collars with GPS tracking have provided owners a new tool for acquiring lost dogs. I tested the Fi Sensible Dog Collar on my German shorthair pointer for the final two months for this assessment.
A couple of months ago, my wife and I welcomed a new dog into our loved ones, a German shorthair pointer puppy we named Leika. We constructed some new fencing about our house to give her some safe area to roam in our backyard.
Then we invested in a couple of dog bowls, instruction classes, and visits to the vet. Our pup grew and grew — abruptly, she appears a lot far more like a young dog.
But with her young dog tendencies, I realized her intense prey drive and strong operating and jumping skills could land her in danger if she got loose. Seeing advertisements for a GPS-tracking dog collar piqued my interest.
And soon after a week and a modest investment, I had a Fi Sensible Dog Collar ($150) and a 1-year subscription ($100).
Fi Sensible Dog Collar Overview
Soon after ordering, the Fi Sensible Dog Collar arrived in just a couple days. I downloaded the app and decided to acquire a 1-year contract.
Offered that my puppy nonetheless hasn’t shown her correct adult colors, I figure her prospective for becoming an escape artist may well come to be apparent via this initial year. Soon after the 1-year mark, I’ll re-evaluate.
Setting up the app was uncomplicated. I worked via the simple setup and familiarization in about 20 minutes. I charged the collar on its base. Soon after it charged soon after a couple of hours, I strapped the new bling on Leika and went for a stroll.
Making use of the Fi Sensible Dog Collar
The Fi collar does a couple of factors that are precious to dog owners. 1st (and for me, foremost), it enables you to set up a “safe zone” about your property or workplace. This zone can be as massive or as modest as you’d like.
I set up a proximity alert about my property, where the device Base lives. This Base is a charging unit that also connects to Wi-Fi in your property or workplace. It connects to the collar by way of Bluetooth, saving electrical energy by limiting the use of GPS and cell service though you are in the property.
You could also set it up about a campsite, anything campers would really like if they have dogs that hang about camp off-leash. I know of at least two incidents in Colorado this year in which dogs took off from campsites and needed extended searches to recover.
It certainly will not replace a leash. But for these with effectively-behaved dogs that may well get a wild hair, it is a consideration.
When Leika leaves the property though wearing the collar, I get an alert inside a minute on my telephone: “Leika just left property.” Similarly, I also get notifications when she leaves the GearJunkie workplace or the GearJunkie video studio.
These notifications are quite constant and perform effectively. I get a notification each and every time she leaves property, no matter if with me, my wife, somebody else — or, God forbid, alone. These notifications can get a tiny overwhelming. A lot more on this later.
I can then open the app and see exactly where she’s going. The collar commonly updates about each and every 20 minutes.
Having said that, if I’m concerned the dog may well be lost or alone, switching the app to “lost dog” mode tends to make the collar active to close to-continuous place updates. This mode also turns on a blinking light to enable you discover the dog much easier at evening.
For me, maintaining track of my dog and acquiring a notification if she escapes are my principal causes for utilizing the collar. But it does a couple of other factors as effectively:
- Counts the dog’s actions
- Compiles the dog’s actions into day-to-day, weekly, and month-to-month statistics
- Has a constructed-in app-controlled light to raise your dog’s visibility at evening
Does the Fi Dog Collar Perform?
My initial impressions of the collar are great. 1st and foremost, it is a collar — it has to hold my dog when she pulls on her leash. Possessing utilised it for two months, it is nonetheless in great situation.
Having said that, it is worth noting that the yellow webbing got dirty swiftly. Leika has also scratched up the principal electronic portion of the collar quite effectively even although it appears quite robust and sturdy.
It is worth noting that Fi sells replacement webbing ($29) for the collar. You can get rid of the electronic module from the collar and transfer it to the new webbing.
Fi warranties the electronic portion of the collar for 1 year. The electronics are waterproof (IP68 rating) and can sustain far more than 30 minutes of total immersion in fresh or salt water with out harm. I haven’t tested it that challenging but, but it is gone via a number of great soakings with no trouble.
The brand calls the collar “generally dog-proof,” and, so far, it is held up to a rowdy puppy with no difficulties.
For me, the collar has lasted about three weeks on a charge. This appears definitely great provided how tiny time my dog spends at property. Let me expand on that.
I’ve had the collar for two months, and Leika wears it each and every day. And so far, I’ve charged the collar only 3 instances: after when I got it and then about after each and every three weeks soon after that.
The Fi collar utilizes the LTE-M network optimized for battery life. If the collar under no circumstances leaves property and remains connected to its property base Wi-Fi, Fi claims it will go a complete three months amongst charges.
This, for me, is completely unrealistic. Fi realizes this and offers some far more correct stats for these whose dogs leave property from time to time.
For dogs that get a day-to-day stroll or two outdoors the property, the GPS reports each and every two-five minutes. Offered that use, the brand expects up to two months amongst charges. For active dogs using GPS only and no Wi-Fi for extended periods of time (this is my situation), it claims a three-week battery life amongst charges. That claim is appropriate on the revenue so far.
As the collar discharges, it warns me on my telephone. “Leika’s Fi Collar is at 20% battery. You have lots to go but we believed we’d let you know,” the app told me in an alert. It did the identical at five % battery. Recharging only requires a couple of hours on the base, and it is prepared to roll once again.
Cell Service Expected
This, to some customers, will be the greatest downside of this program. The collar utilizes AT&T cell signal to communicate with the app and share the dog’s GPS place. If you are away from the base, this service is important for the collar to perform effectively.
So based on exactly where you reside, travel, and perform, the collar can function completely or often not at all. Any person who has a cellphone knows that service can be finicky away from towns and cities, so it is challenging to know if it will perform on your trip to the mountains or Terrific Plains.
On a current trip, I was shocked to get an alert about the collar and pull up our precise place though a complete 10 miles from the nearest trailhead. Having said that, I was in a place that oddly had great cell service, even deep in the woods.
Some customers have reported no service even in their hometowns. So it is worth checking into this prior to investing if you reside in a modest town exactly where AT&T service could be restricted.
Corporation representatives noted that even exactly where service is spotty, the collar could enable you discover a lost dog if it wanders to the edge of service and you get a ping. It is not excellent, but it is surely much better than nothing at all.
So far, I’ve had service in Colorado in the vast majority of locations I’ve taken Leika.
Step Tracking: A Gimmick or A lot more?
This brings me to a function that some could discover fascinating but I really feel is a tiny pointless: step tracking.
The Fi collar counts your dog’s actions just like fitness trackers worn by us humans. It also offers some day-to-day targets for a couple of sorts of dogs (modest, agile, or active). It is type of neat, and you can track the actions more than time. But in the end, there is not a lot investigation about activity counters and dogs but.
Personally, I take it with a grain of salt but appreciate the insights, as they have a tendency to line up with my personal significant adventures. If I went for a hike, possibilities are the dog did as well, and it’ll be logged on the app.
It does give you the capability to monitor your dog’s activity more than time. So if you are ignoring Fido’s physical exercise need to have, it’ll show up right here.
Lots of Notifications
So I noted that you get notifications when the dog is alone away from secure zones. But I’ve located that I get them, effectively, a lot — even when I’m with the dog.
It appears that, though my telephone is paired with the collar, the Bluetooth variety is restricted. If I’m at an off-leash dog park and she goes on a sprint, I’ll get a notification that she’s alone. If I leave her in the workplace and get lunch, a different notification.
Although not a significant deal, I do be concerned that acquiring really a lot of notifications in nonemergency circumstances could lead to a “boy who cried wolf” situation. I discover myself not reacting to them quite a lot since they are so continuous.
I hope that if she really does get into a harmful predicament, I will not chalk it up to “just a different notification.”
Fi GPS Dog Collar: Peace of Thoughts
In my couple months of use, the collar has lowered my anxiety when pals or loved ones have watched Leika. I can generally verify in on her place and really feel comfy that she is not operating about the city.
On a lighter, somewhat comic note, take into consideration that you are fundamentally low-jacking your dog. And with that, you are also low-jacking any one who is with your dog!
So if you have critical privacy issues, you could want to evaluate no matter if this is a smart notion. It is almost certainly not wonderful for operating laps on a military base, for instance.
But if you are not worried about your spouse, pals, or loved ones being aware of the place of your dog (and by proxy, oneself), the Fi dog collar is a quite helpful tool. And for me, being aware of I will get a notification if my pup gets out of my yard is worth the investment alone.