K9 Ultimate Plus GPS Dog Tracker REVIEW
PAT PILCHER loves his greyhound. That’s why he invested in a nifty gadget that will prevent him from ever getting lost.
I’m part of a Facebook group where thousands of greyhound owners hang out and share photos, tell funny greyhound stories, and get answers to their greyhound-related questions. It’s a wonderful, supportive, and caring community filled with some of the nicest people I know.
Sometimes, however, I see posts about greyhounds that have been spooked or hounds who’ve taken advantage of a gate accidentally left open to escape.
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A greyhound on the loose poses nightmarish problems. They’re fast – they can go from 0 to 55kph in just four strides, meaning they can be in another suburb before you’ve even noticed they’ve gone. They’re also next to impossible to catch, especially when spooked. Making matters even worse, they have little to no road sense, which does not bode well if they escape into a busy urban environment.
In one particularly alarming case, an Ibizan sighthound (a close relative to the greyhound) managed to get on the Wellington motorway in the wee hours, forcing police to shut the entire motorway until it was captured. Horror stories aside, most lost greyhounds are eventually found, thanks to a huge amount of support from other greyhound owners who often chip in and help with the search. Sadly, some are never found.
The good news is that there is a simple answer to lost pets. Streetwise Pets has a collar attached location tracker. It uses GPS satellites and mobile phone networks to display your pet’s location within a few centimetres on a smartphone app. The tracker is smaller than a box of matches and slips into a silicone pouch that threads through a supplied reflective collar. For a medium or large-sized dog, the tracker is small enough not to get in the way.
I’d long advocated for GPS trackers, so when I discovered Streetwise Pets, I bit the bullet and bought one for Blaze, our greyhound. I figured that even though Blaze spends most of his day sleeping on the sofa, I’d rather be safe than sorry if one day he did decide to scarper after a cat and escape.
The Streetwise K9 Ultimate Plus tracker arrived just a few days after it was ordered. It comes with a Vodafone prepaid SIM card (ensuring you are within Vodafone 2G coverage is a must), a silicon pouch, a collar and a magnetic charging cable. After charging the tracker and activating the Vodafone SIM, I slipped it into the tracker. I installed the app on my phone and was good to go. The total set-up time was just five minutes.
I set a virtual geo-fence around my home using the mobile app (iOS/Android). With it, I get alerts whenever we take Blaze beyond its perimeter for his morning or evening constitutional. Equally nice, I can call the tracker and listen in to what is happening around or near Blaze, which could prove invaluable to tracking him down should the unthinkable ever happen. Most importantly, I can see where Blaze is on a map in real-time. The app also gives battery status and the direction he is moving in.
About the only downside with the tracker was its blinking blue status LED. At night it was a bit of a distraction. Fixing this was easy. We removed the tracker/collar and kept it by the front door, so we can put it on Blaze before we take him for walks (or when he’s outside).
If there’s mobile coverage, the tracker sends GPS coordinates back to the mobile app, making finding and tracking down your dog in real-time possible from anywhere.
Last (but not least), the app can also set the rate at which the tracker transmits its location back to your phone. This is both handy and important as it allows you to remotely balance the rate of the tracker positioning updates and its battery life. Battery life isn’t half bad, either. According to the mobile app, the tracker is at 70% battery after 3 days of use (and frequently checking on Blaze’s location).
So, the verdict? It might cost $215 but the sheer peace of mind the tracker gives me is worth every cent. Combine that with its long battery life, intuitive app and nifty features, and there’s lots to like.