I have recently become a little obsessed with Gobi, the incrediable little dog that followed an Australian ultra-marathon runner, Dion Leonard, across the Gobi Desert. Dion decided to adopt Gobi and take her to his new home in Scotland.
Tragically while Dion was in Scotland waiting for Gobi to spend time in quarantine, Gobi ran away and was lost in the city of millions of people.
Here is a quick clip of Dion and Gobi's story:
After a mammoth global effort including fundraising, local volunteers and the never ending persistence of Dion, incredible Gobi was found and has not left Dion's side since.
This led me to think about Tiger and how heartbreaking it would be to lose him. Being a terrier, he is very inquisitive, loves running and I am not sure he would take the time to think about where he was going if he managed to get out.
This has happened to me twice before. The first time was as a puppy, I was working long hours on shift and he decided that he couldn't wait for me to get home any longer. I had put up some plastic garden trellis (type stuff) along the front fence so they he couldn't squeeze between. So, no this didn't work. He did a Houdini and escaped. I soon found that he had walked 6 blocks from one end of town tot he other.. through morning traffic to get to my Dad house. Yep, amazing, but anything could have happened to him on the way.
The second time was during his first fireworks display. I had dutifully closed the gates, turned the music up and closed the blinds in preparation for the noisy event. I don't know why I didn't stay home as a new puppy owner, but when I returned, he was gone. He had chewed through the front fencing material and escaped, again. After a long devastating night, I received a call from a man about 3 kilometers away that found Tiger shivering on his front porch.
The poor little fella was cold, had sore paws and was understandably very sad and lonely. It broke my heart. So, yes it was a learning for me and I hope you don't have to go through the same. I now have fences like Fort Knox and do everything I can to prevent that happening again.
So, after I saw this happen to Dion and Gobi in a big city of Urumqi in China I started looking at the ways we can track and find our missing dogs.
5 Reasons dog's go missing
And Im sure there are many more!
1. They are scared
Many dogs go missing after they get a fright. It is sad to think that our dogs can be so scared that they run away in fear. The problem is that they run and run and often get lost in unfamiliar areas.
2. The are bored
Yes, dogs get bored. Pretend you are your dog. If you were stuck and home all day, with no play, no walks and nothing to occupy your time, I think you might go a bit crazy too. Dog's can't turn on the TV, read a book or do some cooking. Nope, they get destructive, lonely or will want to find somewhere else to be. Alternatively, If you are exhausted from a big walk, you might be quite happy to sleep on the couch all day and perhaps nibble on a peanut butter kong - Just like your dog. Read more about how to entertain bored dogs.
3. Curls get the girls
Yep, it's mating time! As with all hot blooded animals, your dog might go looking for some company.
4. They love to run
Some dogs just like the feel of the fresh air through his fur and their nose in the breeze. It's a bit hard to do that in the back yard. Some dog's that are bred to run like the wind, like kelpies, will want to expel that energy and may jump the fence to go for a run. My friends Dog, Tess, is a running machine and always has a smile on her face.
5. Mean people that don't deserve space here
I won't go into this one but we have all heard stories or dogs being stolen. I can't comprehend the thought of stealing a much-loved family pet. So let's move on....
6 ways to find your missing dog?
If you fear that your dog may go missing, there are several ways that you can attempt to find them:
1. Wanted Posters
Never underestimate the power of community. Most dogs stay within the local area and most of the time your friends and neighbors are more than willing to help you find your lost dog.
Knock on doors, post signs around the neighbourhood.
2. Facebook sharing
The wanted poster of today. The internet is a modern marvel with viral capabilities. Spread the word of your lost dog via your Facebook site or one of the Lost Pets sites in your area .
The beauty of doing this is that you can post photos of your dog, add constant updates and report. Share Share Share!
3. Dog shelters and local council pounds
Call the local council or town ranger. Particularly if your dog is without ID and people cannot call your direct.
4. Identification Tags
Always have ID tags on your dog so that you can be called if someone finds your dog. A small ID tag on your dog's collar is the best way to ensure that you get your best mate back.
If you do take your dogs' collar off, be extra careful about where he is. I take Tiger to the beach a lot and he always comes home with a wet collar. That is why I have two. While one is drying he has a spare. I also like to change up his colors a bit.
Fashion? Me? Surely not.
A new tag for dog ID is the QR code tag. The QR code can store all sorts of information about your dog . The code won't track your dog but it someone finds your dog they can scan the code and find out more information that what you can fit on a traditional tag. Find out more on the QR Code tag.
5. Microchipping your dog
Microchips are extremely common these days. A small microchip in inserted under your dog's skin, usually near their shoulder and the microchip number is recorded in a national database.
If your lost dog is found, a vet or shelter can scan the microchip, search the database and call you to tell you that your dog is safe and ready to be picked up.
Microchip are very convenient. The are small, don't need batteries or charging and have no monthly fees or phone apps.
6. Dog Trackers
Technology eh! These days tracking a lost dog is possible. Yes, there are limitations like power source, size, range but what a great ideas if it helps find your dog.
There are a few types of trackers that are available, radio tracking and GPS. I have outlined the difference below.
How to dog trackers work?
Radio Frequency Dog Trackers
Radio Frequency tags are interactive. Your dog wears a small tag that transmits a signal back to a small base unit. The unit allows your dog to be within a certain range . If your dog moves outside this range , it sends out a signal and starts beeping.
This method allows your to be immediately notified if your dog escapes or sneaks out the door. You can then go outside and scan the areas for your dog. Some radio scanners working up to 500m away but usually less in busy, congested areas due to surrounding structures .
Global Positioning System (GPS) Dog Trackers
In the devastating situation where you come home from being out and your dog is missing, like little Gobi or Tigers escapades, a GPS tracker may be the best option.
GPS trackers work off Satellites which identifies the exact coordinates of a receiver. The receiver can then transfer this information to a phone or computer and tell you where your dog is.
GPS trackers are an excellent way to accurately find your dog but there are times when the tracker will not work. The tracker needs communications reception in order to transmit. GPS trackers require batteries and charging and are often quite larger, particularly for smaller dogs. Many GPS trackers also have a monthly subscription cost .
I am sure that with technology, this will quickly and significantly improve.
Let's look at some dog tracking options
So firstly, it is impossible for me to trial all of these, so I am going to go by reviews and rating. I will, however, be keeping a close eye on these and any technology improvements and update come through.
Pawscout Smart Tag
The Pawscout Smart Tag is the first one is all about community. It is a small tag with a GPS tracker that can be picked up within a 200ft radius. This one relies on a community of people that have the Pawscout Tracker App and can help you find your dog.
The downside of this one is that not everyone will have the app. But it might be a great solution in tight-knit communities or friendly neighborhoods. Combined with Facebook this could work a treat as people are notified of your missing dog.
Garmin T5 GPS Dog Collar
This tracker is the ultimate in dog tracking. And of course, being made by Garmin Dog Collar, you would expect nothing less.
This tracker is used by sporting dog but I can see it being beneficial to cross country runners, hikers and trekkers who take their dogs along with them. It can track multiple dogs, has a huge battery life and a digital tracking display.
These would be best for larger dogs and provides tracking capabilities above all others. It has up to a 9 mile range. LED beacon lights. Rugged and water-rated to 10 meters. It is tough enough to run wherever your dog runs.
Yepzon One Personal GPS Locator
So, as it turns out good GPS trackers for dogs are hard to find. After trawling loads (and I mean lots) of devices and reviews I this, a GPS device that is getting exceptional write-ups. The Yepson Locator. And... they have a huge focus on dogs, Yay Yepson!
So by personal, it is small-ish. Used for locating kids, older people, animals, bags, well almost anything I guess. Best of all, it is beautifully styled, modern and sleek. Look!
The Yepson features include:
- WORKS EVERYWHERE - Use of GPS, GSM Network and Bluetooth - accurate location without distance limitations. Yepzon uses both AT&T and T-Mobile network and will therefore not be affected by AT&T 2G sunset!
- FOLLOW A MOVING TARGET - Yepzon tracks the location every 10 seconds when needed.
- DATA SECURITY - Yepzon does not collect any personal data. You can share the locator's user rights only to the people you want.
- EASY TO USE YEPZON APP - Yepzon app works with any mobile device and requires no passwords and no registrations. You can follow as many Yepzons as you wish and each one of them can have as many care givers to follow it as needed.
- UNBEATABLE BATTERY LIFE - Yepzon GPS locator's battery can last several weeks to even months. Most of the time the GPS locator is asleep and only activates itself when it senses movement. You can set how often the locator updates its location from Yepzon Cloud. There is even an option to switch off your Yepzon from the app when you know you will not be using it for a while. Don't worry, Yepzon will tell you when it needs to be charged.
Beside the initial cost, the Yepson does require a data subscription. It comes with 6 months initially and will require a small monthly fee after that.
There are only a few negative reviews on this one. In most cases it was about coverage. Yes, the device needs phone coverage and in very remote areas, this may not be available. For most reviews, Yepson has responded with advice and assistance. Great customer service!
When would I use a dog tracker
A dog tracker is probably not something that I would use all the time. Rather I would use it in situations where there is a higher risk of Tiger getting excited and running off.
Even though I have the house locked tight so that Tiger can not escape, it is amazing how dogs can find a way out. I would seriously consider using a device on fireworks night.
We take Tiger with us when we go camping. Have you ever seen a dog squeeze his nose through and open the zip, yep, they are very clever.
Tip! I always leave the zip high at the top so that he can't squeeze through. Yes, he sleeps inside the tent, of course!
I would use the tracker if we are camping in unfamiliar areas and at night just in case he finds somthing that he want to chase. Which is highly likely for my little terrier.
Good luck with choosing a tracker that suits you and your dog.
Tiger secured tightly
So, what is the best dog GPS tracker? Well, it depends on your circumstances. You will ultimately have to make your own choice based on your dog and your circumstances.
I hope I have been able to help you out with your choice.