PawTrax TAGZ GPS tracker
I would like to blame losing bits of paper with important phone numbers or my glasses or even my car keys on age related failing memory but the truth is I have always had a marvellous ability to lose things. However, when I take my canine crew out, like most people who walk more than three dogs at a time, I am focussed and you can often hear me murmuring the head count like a mantra. No matter how careful we are when walking dogs off lead there is always the possibility that we will get separated, my crew are pretty good on the whistle but one or two members of the family can be either somewhat independent or, like a couple of the oldies they will totter off down their chosen path with never a backward glance.
Some time ago I did test an earlier model of Paw Trax canine tagging but technology has moved on and the new TAGZ is far superior, it’s smaller and lighter at just 20.7gms and around the size of a £2 coin (32mm x 32mm x 15mm). For me the best innovation is that it is waterproof in fresh water (not that I would describe the muddy pools my dogs enjoy as fresh) and really a doddle to set up and follow on a smart ‘phone. By transferring data of the location of the TAGZ to a satellite which then reports to your phone you can use any map on your device, such as Google maps, to pinpoint your dog.
I tested the sturdy little box for a few days on one of my dogs and found by using the optional Tracking Platform it was easy to choose a type of map that suited me, I like Google Hybrid as it has bushes and trees that I recognise as well as the road plan! Where I walk my dogs there is usually a decent signal but I wondered what would happen in a less accessible area for signal. This problem has been almost completely solved with the installation of a Global Roaming Sim Card for an additional £10, well worth it for those locations that are not blessed with great service. This means if the network can’t be found with a strong signal the device will cast around and switch to another network.
I really liked the charger unit with a nifty clip to ensure steady connectivity and I couldn’t fault the customer service, even for a Luddite like me the advice was clear and friendly.
I then handed the Paw Trax to my friend Karen who lives on a large farm. During the day her dogs are active about the farm exploring every inch of their domain, she has locator tags on two of her dogs so Lottie the Irish Setter was chosen to be watched from afar and we could compare the accuracy and reports against the two existing locator tags.
The main difference was the size of the unit; Karen’s existing units were fine on medium to large dogs (English Setters) but for Lottie as a Setter from the working side with dwarfism? Well that would have been like her wearing a brick strapped to her neck!
Karen really appreciated the Geo fence that could be set up as a perimeter, this doesn’t stop the dog going out of the perimeter but it does send you a text message when the boundary is breached; you can find out more by visiting www.pawtrax.co.uk.
Karen and I did have a conversation about what the ’P’ symbol may mean on the map, after discussing just how long a dog would generally tarry to relieve itself we came to the conclusion that it wasn’t linked and that it was ‘P’ for Parked, just as well it wasn’t an ‘S’ for Stationary.
With so many dogs being stolen or simply going missing I think that at £110 for the unit it is a worthwhile investment. There is a version for cats too and that is selling surprisingly well, I think we are curious as to our pet’s habits and their wanderings and I admit I found watching Lottie’s progress more entertaining than an average Saturday nights TV.
The PawTrax web platform is £25 a year if you need it and any pay as you go sim card would need to be topped up but still at a modest cost. The unit doesn’t have to be transmitting all the time, you have control of how often it reports or if it stays in standby mode until your dog is active. Real Time Tracking will run the battery down fairly quickly but you still have several hours of charge, on my test it took six hours on constant tracking and updating to run the battery down. On standby you will have at least 200 hours, that’s eight days, of battery time. I would guess that on average use with a couple of walks a day with tracking you would need to recharge possibly twice a week which is consistent with any mobile phone usage.
This dynamic little device could save lives, it could avert disaster and it gives peace of mind. It’s ten out of ten from me.