If you’ve ever researched dog breeds you’ve probably read a bit about how some types are more likely to wander away on their own. They just seem to have an inner drive to leave your home or property, and it can be a tough thing to train out of them. I’ve been experiencing that struggle with my Great Pyrenees Rosie, and I’ve been using GPS trackers to find her if she wanders off. That’s why I was so interested in testing out PetFon Dog Activity Tracker.
PetFon Dog Activity Tracker is a small GPS-linked device that will track your dog in real-time, and one of the best parts of this tracker is that there is no subscription fee to use the device. You don’t need to pay a monthly fee to access the GPS network, but you still get access to a live location, a virtual fence, and sound alerts.
Appearance and features of PetFon dog activity tracker
The PetFon Dog Activity Tracker includes two modules in the package; one is the GPS tracker you attach to your dog’s collar and one is a control terminal you keep with you. You can charge and store them in the portable charging unit, and there are two rubber bands to secure your tracker to your dog’s collar.
- Gives you real-time location of your pet
- Easy to use and there is no subscription required
- Works with dogs or cats
- Weather-proof and dust-resistant so it can be worn in the rain. It’s not completely water-resistant so your pet shouldn’t swim with it on
- Geofence lets you set a boundary for your pet and an alarm will sound if they leave the area
- Live notifications to keep you updated if your pet leaves the boundary
- Use the sound alarm or you can add your voice to alert your pet he or she is leaving the boundary area
- Multiple light colours to choose from so you can find your pet in the dark
- The battery lasts between 8 to 16 hours
- Range of 5.6km in suburban neighborhoods and just over 1km in urban areas
How does PetFon work?
PetFon is a small device, but it’s packed with technology designed to keep track of your pet. It has a high-performance wireless chip, HG laser antenna, and it uses LoRa, a low power long-range, low power wireless platform. It also uses local phone network signals, GPS mapping, and Wi-Fi hotspots, so this tracker doesn’t need a SIM card to work. Because you don’t need a SIM card, you don’t have to pay extra monthly fees to track your pet.
PetFon is meant to track your pet while you take him or her for walks. Because you keep the controller with you, you need to be fairly close to your pet to track them. At my house, an area with a lot of trees, it will track my dog when she’s just over 1 km away. It has the same range in a populated area. If you are in a huge, open area it will track your pet up to 5 km away.
Testing PetFon dog activity tracker
To test PetFon I attached it to my dog Rosie. Rosie is two years old and a 125 lb Great Pyrenees. She’s been my best buddy and protector since we brought her home, but she’s also been one of my biggest stresses. We live on 12 acres of property that’s fenced well, but she has always found a way out of the yard.
Meet Rosie, my wandering dog
Imagine a very large dog slipping under a strong metal fence whenever she feels the need to visit the neighbors. That’s my Rosie. If she wasn’t going under fences she was jumping over them, and I can’t count how many times someone came to my gate with her and said, “Is this your dog?” At one point I attached a luggage tag to her collar that said, “My name is Rosie and I like to wander” with my name and phone number on it. To say she’s famous around here would be an understatement.
I couldn’t have her leaving the yard all the time because it is dangerous for her, and to fix the issue I bought a GPS dog tracker to track her when she was getting out of the yard. After fixing the issue in one area, I’d find out she left from another. I was happy the GPS let me know where she was at any given moment so I could bring her home, but she can also run pretty quickly so I spent a lot of time chasing her.
I’ve been using my own GPS dog tracker for over a year. There are quite a few limitations with my own tracker, so I was very interested in reviewing PetFon. The two features on PetFon I was most interested in was the GeoFence that stops her from wandering outside a certain area and the ability to add your voice to the tracker for recall.
Setting up PetFon dog activity tracker
To set up PetFon you’ll need to use the included USB to plug the case into an outlet. To get the most out of PetFon you’ll want it have it fully charged the first time you use it. While you’re charging you can download the app and add the GPS tracker and controller to your phone. Both connect via Bluetooth, and I had an easy time adding them to the app.
There are two ways you can use PetFon to notify your pet that they are going beyond their boundary or find them if they are somewhere beyond your reach. You can use preset sound clips in the app or add a voice clip. I added, “Rosie go home” because she knows that command. There are different colours you can choose for lights and I choose yellow as that would glow brighter at night and through her fur. I actually can’t even see the tracker when it’s on as she has so much fur around her neck.
I put the PetFon tracker on Rosie and attached it via the included band. I like the band. It stretches out and attaches securely. I carried the controller in my pocket along with my phone.
Establishing an E-Fence
You can add an E-fence to the app. There are three types to choose from. The first type is a geofence around you, so wherever you are with the controller is where her fence is. The second type is a boundary fence you set up by tapping on the app. I added a large fence that establishes where our yard is.
You can also add hazards in your yard, so if she goes near our pond or a fence you can set that as a hazard in the app and you will receive an alert if she goes near it. She will receive a sound alert on her collar and I will receive a notification on my phone.
Overall the E-fence worked fairly well. I found it a bit challenging to use the geofence around myself and the controller because my house is located too close to the road. I didn’t want her to be able to wander out the gate so I made the area around me less than 100 yards. I received a lot of notifications on my phone as that’s not very far.
You can’t really use multiple fences at the same time as the larger fences. I found when I was using all three fences at one time there were no alerts on the collar when she would wander away. She had a sound alert when she went near a hazard, but she didn’t have one when she went through the larger fence.
Tracking distance and radar
Petfon is meant to track your dog when you are near them, so if Rosie managed to go over the fence and take off, I would only be able to track her if I was close to her. Having obstacles like the house, trees, and other buildings will also reduce the transmission range, and the one time she wandered off and I quickly lost track of her while waiting for the GPS to pick her up.
For me, the best way to use Petfon after she tried to leave the yard was to use the radar. It told me she was a certain distance away so I could head in that direction. I set off the sound alert and light when I was closer to her. She heard my voice say “Rosie go home” and she ran to me when she saw me. I was impressed. Normally she will just continue on her way and go home when she feels like it.
You can press the two buttons on the controller and activate the sound or light if you are near the dog, but as I mentioned, you have to be pretty close to use it. When I was in a hurry to find her I always tapped radar first. It works faster than loading the GPS map.
One of the reasons why I’m so interested in finding a new dog tracker is because the battery life on my own isn’t great. I find it challenging having to take it off her and recharge her collar all the time, and I’ll usually bring her in the house for a nap while I do it.
The only downside of the PetFon dog activity tracker was that the battery didn’t last that long either. It should last between 8 to 16 hours with light use, and I was definitely recharging it every 8 hours. That being said, I was testing it out and using the real-time tracking more often than someone walking their dog a few times a day would use it for. I think the constant updating of the GPS signal contributes to battery drain.
Should you choose PetFon dog activity tracker?
There are quite a few things I like about the PetFon Dog Activity tracker. I love the fact that there are no subscription fees, especially when you consider that some GPS dog trackers require fees around $120 CDN per year. I also like that I can add my voice to the tracker and it will play when she’s out of the yard or about to head out through the E-fence. I’ve always thought it would be a great thing to have a dog tracker with a microphone built-in so I can call her when she’s too far away.
While the PetFon dog tracker isn’t designed for a property as large as mine, it still worked pretty well considering I was tracking her in the house and we are in a heavily treed area. The 1 km radius was pretty accurate, and whenever I wanted to find her I could do so via the GPS or the radar. The maps on the tracker are up to date, and if you travel you can use the tracker in any country because the GPS will update wherever you are.
For me, the only real downside was the battery life and the potential tracking radius. I need to be able to follow her as she goes through trees, so losing a signal isn’t an option for me. I read that PetFon will be making another tracker that will address the tracking distance and be used in the home instead of near the dog, so I’ll definitely be on the lookout for that.
I would choose PetFon over other activity trackers because there is no subscription required. It would work quite well for me now as she doesn’t wander as much as she used to, and I really like the brightness of the light at night. It makes it very easy to spot her.
You can find the PetFon dog activity tracker on Best Buy right now.