The Tagg™ Pet Tracker
A review –
See my article: "Man's
Check out our Camping Trips
Tracker attached to Base / Charger
Tagg Tracker marked with reflective tape
This article is a review of the
Tagg™ Pet Tracker‒
and suggestions to help you find a tracking device that has been
“lost” due to a lost collar or by accidental detachment of the
tracker from the pet's collar.
REVIEW and COMMENTS
Firstly, let me tell the reader that the following is an unpaid and
unsolicited review. I do not normally endorse products on this Web
but I must make an exception here because this product solves a
problem that has caused countless pet owners heartache and grief.
Tagg™ Pet Trackeris
an indispensable piece of technology that is a Godsend for those of
us who have dogs or cats and live adjoining wilderness areas. The
Tagg™ Pet Trackeris
attached to a pet's collar, and assists the pet owner to locate a
lost pet, a pet who has wandered away from home, or a pet in
Black Lab puppy “Ninja”, like “Rocky” was before her, is trained NOT
to cross roads or highways – she has the “run” of an approximately
8-acre area that is partially wooded with heavy underbrush in
places, and which borders on the
New Jersey Pine Barrens
wilderness park. As the weather warmed approaching the Spring of
2013, I noticed that Ninja was out “doing her business” for longer
and longer periods of time – and once she was nowhere to be found
for over 3 hours, and didn’t come when called like she always did.
When she returned, she and I immediately went to the store and I
bought her a
Tagg™ Pet Tracker.
Ninja – Black Lab / Australian Cattle Dog mix
Adopted 11-22-2012 from
Rocky – Shepherd / Terrier Mix
Adopted 9-11-06 from
Bide-A-Wee, NY City
Rocky is no longer
Setup of the Tracker was easy, and took about ten minutes.
The full screen shot below is from the Tagg™ Web site.
The system functions well on the Web site (using a PC or a Tablet);
but I would have preferred that the Web site used much more of my
screen real estate to display the map
(As of this writing – April, 2013 – the map window displayed on the
Web site cannot be re-sized or expanded to fill the screen).
The Tagg Android App on my Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and my Motorola
Smartphone renders a stunningly clear and detailed full-screen map.
Because of this, I much prefer the Android Apps to the Web site.
The Tagg™ system will send you emails and text messages
to alert you when your pet wanders out of a pre-set area you
designate – this is called the “Tagg Zone”. The system will also
alert you when the pet wanders out of the range of the Docking
Station / Charger unit – which maintains a signal “handshake” with
the tracker when the Tracker is within range, and serves to “relay”
the cellular signal from the Tracker, thereby reducing the power
consumption of the Tracker battery when its signal is within range
of the Docking Station / Charger (approx 150 to 200 ft radius
depending on position and terrain).
You also have access to a set of special TEXT COMMANDS which you can
send to the Tracker:
Request a location for your pets
LOCATE Pet Name
Request a location for a specific pet
Turn on continuous tracking for your pets
TRACK Pet Name
Turn on continuous tracking for a
Turn off continuous tracking for your
TRACK OFF Pet Name
Turn off continuous tracking for a
Request battery status for your pets
BATTERY Pet Name
Request battery status for a specific pet
Tracking your dog (or other pet) also has other benefits built into
the Tracker – besides the ability to see where your dog is, where
she goes, and the path she uses to get there (using the “Trail”
feature), and, of course, finding her if she wanders away from home.
The Tracker has a built-in accelerometer which is used to tell the
system how active your dog is; i.e. sleeping, walking, or chasing
squirrels up trees. This data is collected and based on the size and
weight of your pet, used to generate daily “Tagg points” which is a
statistical measure of how active your pet is. The data is archived
to your account, and can be printed to hardcopy. You can use the
reports to determine if your pet is getting proper exercise, and to
set activity goals with your pet (which will also keep YOU from
becoming a couch potato).
Also, another cool thing about the Tagg Tracker is that it can be
used to track something else besides a dog or cat. It is vaguely
similar to GPS devices used by Police
to keep track of criminals, although the
Tracker is much more technically advanced. Drop one of these
devices into your kid’s backpack, and you’ll be able to track him or
her wherever they go, and have a “trail” of how they got the here.
Wilderness hikers can take a Tracker with them, leave it turned off
and turn it on if they get lost or in trouble, instantly alerting
someone (who gets the emails and text messages) to their exact
position, complete with terrain / road maps.
When you purchase the
Tagg™ Pet Tracker,
you get 3 months of service
Thereafter, the monthly fee
– about 8 dollars – is certainly worth the price if you love your
dog named "Ninja" is a female Black Labrador / Australian Cattle Dog
mix who I adopted from
as an 8-month old Rescue puppy, the day before Thanksgiving, 2012.
Due to her solid black coat color, I marked her collar,
with reflective tape so that she would be highly visible at night.
(The red / white reflective markings on the Thunder Shirt are made
from a reflective collar purchased at a local Dollar Store (with the
clips cut off) and fastened to the
with Devcon rubber cement and a few stitches using nylon dental
floss instead of string).
Most of the time, Ninja goes where I go.
She is my best friend
and I take her to the stores, we walk around Lowes, Home Depot, and
Berlin Farmer’s Market
because she is (a/o April 2003) in training to be a guide / service
dog (like my dog Rocky was). Ninja eats, plays, and sleeps with me –
and if you want to find me, just track my dog.
Ninja is an energetic puppy that loves to “patrol” the neighboring
properties and woods – and I give her the freedom to be a “country
dog”, run around, play, and just enjoy herself. I would not want to
lose her, and that is why I have her
registered with Home Again,
and GPS-tracked with
Ninja in her reflector tape marked
Kurgo Dog Seatbelt Harness
Tagg™ Pet Tracker
mounted on the harness above the withers.
The “Dollar Store” reflective collar – cut and used to mark the
HOW TO LOCATE A "LOST" PET or a "LOST" (detached from
dog Ninja “lost” her Tagg™ Tracker a few days after I bought it ‒
the system sent me an email that the Tracker was detached from her
collar. A few minutes later, she came home; the tracker did not.
There was 2 inches of snow on the ground, and the surrounding area
is rural with lots of underbrush, bordering the
New Jersey Pine Barrens
‒ 115,000 acres of sand and stunted pine trees.
Since the Tracker was within the range of the Docking Station /
Charger unit, and (also) inside the “Tagg Zone”, pressing the
“LOCATE” button on the Base, the Web site, or the Android App
resulted in a message / text / email that said,
“Ninja is near the Docking Station…”
and “Ninja is inside the Tagg Zone… so
Track is not available”. The Tracker (or Ninja, if she
was wearing it) could be anywhere within the Tagg Zone.
knew I had to locate the Tracker before its battery went dead – else
I would probably never find it. I had the “Tagg Zone” at its minimum
size (75 yard radius). I unplugged the Docking Station, and because
the unit has an internal battery backup, the “handshake signal”
between it and the Tracker would be maintained until the Docking
Station battery expired…, so I wrapped the Docking Station in a
plastic bag and put it in the refrigerator in order to block the
signal from the Docking Station to the Tracker. After I did that, I
knew that the “battery saver” mode on the Tracker would turn off,
because the “handshake” signal could no longer be maintained, but
the message “Ninja is near the Docking
Station…” went away when I pressed the LOCATE button on
the Android App.
took my Android phone outside and activated the TRACKING, then
selected “GET DIRECTIONS” from the menu bar at the bottom of the
With GPS on the phone enabled, the Tracker’s position was marked
with the “paw print” ,
and my position was marked with a blue dot which moved as I moved.
I walked in the direction of the Tracker’s position, until my blue
dot was right next to the “paw print”. I looked down, and there was
the Tracker lying in the snow. After tracking and finding the
tracker just a dozen yards away from my residence with the Tagg™ App
on my Motorola Android phone, I thought about how I could prevent
detachment / loss of the tracker in the future. I must not have
clipped the Tracker onto the clip properly; as the clip is tenacious
when properly snapped in place (You must hear TWO clicks when
attaching the Tracker to the collar clip).
screen shot showing my position (blue dot) approaching the “lost”
didn’t want to modify the collar, as I felt it would be
uncomfortable for her. Instead, I attached the GPS Tracker to her
Kurgo Dog Seatbelt Harness.
This procedure left the "wings" (which is the antenna for the
tracker) of the tracker device vulnerable to being snagged in
bushes. I solved this problem by fashioning two loops out of an old
nylon web belt to hold the "wings" down on the harness.
The first step was to mark the Tracker with reflective tape. I used
red, white, and blue tape, carefully trimmed with an Exacto™ knife
to the shape of the Tracker. The three different colors would help
me see the tracker at night if it were to "get lost" in the
surrounding forest. Tagg™ sells decorative design “seasonal”
stickers, but these would be camouflage among the heavy underbrush
in this area (NJ Pinelands).
The second step was to NOT attach the tracker to the collar, but to
Kurgo Dog Seatbelt Harness
she always wears (The harness' buckles are also marked with the
tri-color reflective tape). It is almost impossible for her to
"lose" the harness, and even if she did, it would be easy to find
with its reflective markings.
The third step was to provide a secondary means to keep the tracker
attached to the harness, because running and digging through
underbrush could possibly detach the tracker from its clip. This
involved sewing two loops (made from an old nylon web belt with the
ends melted to prevent fraying) on each side of the tracker clip,
using nylon dental floss as thread, to sew two ends of the loop
together (see instructions for doing this, below).
The Tracker's "wings" ‒ which are the device's antenna ‒ are slipped
under the nylon loops, and the tracker is then clicked onto the
clip. This position (on her back) also gives the tracker optimum
positioning for acquiring GPS satellite and cellular tower signals,
and results in faster "LOCATE" responses from the Tracker. Signal
optimization is important in rural or wilderness areas. While there
are almost no "dead zones" for GPS signals in the open forest, even
the best Cellular coverage will have "dead spots" in extreme
wilderness areas. The Tracker acquires GPS positioning, then sends
the data over the Cellular phone network.
Note that the Tracker’s “wings” (which are the Tracker’s antenna)
fit snugly under the DIY nylon
web loops. To attach the Tracker, first insert both “wings” into the
loops, and then snap the Tracker onto the clip, making sure that you
hear TWO distinct clicks as the Tracker snaps onto the clip. Push
the loops as close to the Tracker as they will go, and the Tracker
is double-secure for dogs and pets who like to scramble through
you have used the
Tagg™ Pet Trackerfor
any length of time, you know that the Tracker will only start
tracking when the Tracker is OUT of the designated Tagg™ zone, and
out of the range of the Docking Station signal. However, you can get
a location for the Tracker from the Web site (https://app.pettracker.com/)
by clicking on the LOCATE button. You can also initiate a 15-minute
tracking session by pressing the PAGE button on top of the Docking
Obviously, it is easier to Locate your dog when she has a Tracker
attached to her collar, than to locate a Tracker that has become
detached from the collar, or to locate a collar (with attached
Tracker) that has become separated from your dog (or pet). The
techniques are identical, except for the fact that a detached
Tracker or collar will not "come" when called. It is best to
familiarize yourself with a practice session using a friend to
"wander off" with the Tracker, and you trying to locate him using
the Tagg™ Android App. This way, if / when you need to find your
dog, you'll be familiar with how the system works, and what you must
do to get the results you desire.
Before we start here, we assume that you have set up your
Tagg™ Pet Trackerproperly,
including the "Tagg™ Zone".
When tracking or locate is initiated, the Tracker LEDs will flash
blue/red, which will help you to locate a lost tracker at night (in
the dark). If you marked the Tracker with reflector tape, it will
also help you to locate the unit with a flashlight at night.
With tracking initiated, unplug the Docking Station, wrap it in a
plastic bag (to prevent moisture accumulation inside the unit) and
put it in the refrigerator. The (grounded) metal sides of the
refrigerator will block the Docking Station signal, and in a few
minutes you should be able to initiate continuous tracking. Be
advised that LOSS of the Docking Station signal "handshake" with the
Tracker will take the Tracker out of "battery saver" mode, and the
Tracker will then begin to operate as if the Tracker is out of the
Docking Station signal range (150 to 200 ft radius).
With your Internet-enabled Android smart phone, initiate LOCATE /
TRACKING function in the Tagg™ App, and enable the GPS on your
phone. When the phone acquires your position, you will see a blue
dot indicating your position and a "paw print" marking the position
of the Tracker. Move (walk or drive slowly) towards the Tracker
position until you find the Tracker.
Remember that the GPS signals from the orbiting satellites are
extremely weak – much weaker than background “static” at any given
frequency, and the Tracker may not work if it is shielded from GPS
signals by overhead structures (such as metal buildings such as tool
sheds) or extreme forest canopy. Any GPS receiver requires signal
acquisition to at least 3 of the
orbiting GPS satellites.
At any given time, there are 6 satellites with line-of-sight view to
the ground at sea level, so in most places, satellite signal
acquisition is not a problem in open outdoor spaces. If your dog (or
pet) is in a basement, in a metal tool shed, or is swimming / in the
water with the Tracker submerged, the GPS signals will probably be
blocked, preventing the system from locating your pet. If your
Tracker cannot fix a location for your dog, chances are that the
Tracker is in a GPS shielded location (the inside of your car (or
being under a car) can also block GPS signals. If the system reports
that it cannot locate your dog for an extended period of time, your
dog could be in a GPS “dead zone” or in a building or structure that
blocks GPS signals. In this case, use the “Trail” feature to see
where your dog traveled, and the last point plotted is the “last
known location”. Get to the general vicinity shown on the map and
begin your search there.
See my review (and others) on Amazon:
Tagg™ is a registered trademark of Snaptracs, Inc., a