Types of Tracking Collars & Systems

A tracking system for your pet can be invaluable if you frequently hike, travel or vacation with your dog.
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Tracking collars were developed for hunters who wanted to be able to see where their hunting dogs were in the field. Recently, tracking collars have been modified so that pet owners can track their dogs and cats using global positioning systems. There are pros and cons for each variety worth considering before making a purchase.

Radio Tracking Collars

Radio tracking collars for dogs includes the handheld receiver and the transmitter or dog tracking collar. A lightweight transmitter can be attached to your dog's collar while hunting or hiking. The transmitter part constantly sends a short radio signal to the receiver. With the receiver, you can see how far away your dog's transmitter is from you. Some systems can even tell you in which direction your dog is at a specific time.

Pros and Cons

The radio tracking system has a limited range of up to seven miles, which is generally not a problem for hunters and their dogs. However, the radio signal must be unimpeded by obstacles for the transmitter to reach the receiver. In addition, radio signals do not give detailed information regarding your dog's specific location, so determining distance and direction can take some guesswork.

GPS Tracking Systems

The most popular GPS pet tracking systems link owners to their dogs' collar devices to a cell phone service, and information regarding your pet's whereabouts can be accessed through the devices website or on a smart phone app. Some systems rely on radio waves, much like the radio tracking systems, but they all depend on GPS communication, which means if GPS isn’t available, these devices will not work.

Pros and Cons

GPS pet trackers can have a virtually inexhaustible range, but some do have more restricted ranges. Manufacturers will disclose this information. The most common complaints about GPS systems is that battery life is not very long if you keep the tracking device on at all times. These systems can be fairly expensive to purchase.