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The Tagg™ Pet Tracker

A review – www.Net4TruthUSA.com/taggtracker.htm

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Tagg Tracker 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 site (www.Net4TruthUSA.com) but I must make an exception here because this product solves a problem that has caused countless pet owners heartache and grief.

 

The 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 trouble.

 

My 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 Two-by-Two Rescue, Clarksboro, NJ

Rocky – Shepherd / Terrier Mix

Adopted 9-11-06 from Bide-A-Wee, NY City

Rocky is no longer with us.

 

Setup of the Tracker was easy, and took about ten minutes[1]. The full screen shot below is from the Tagg Web site[2]. 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[3] (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[4] 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)[5].

 

You also have access to a set of special TEXT COMMANDS which you can send to the Tracker:

 

Command

Description

LOCATE

Request a location for your pets

LOCATE Pet Name

Request a location for a specific pet

TRACK

Turn on continuous tracking for your pets

TRACK Pet Name

Turn on continuous tracking for a specific pet

TRACK OFF

Turn off continuous tracking for your pets

TRACK OFF Pet Name

Turn off continuous tracking for a specific pet

BATTERY

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 Tagg™ 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[6] included[7]. Thereafter, the monthly fee[8] – about 8 dollars – is certainly worth the price if you love your pet.

 

My dog named "Ninja" is a female Black Labrador / Australian Cattle Dog mix who I adopted from Two-by-Two Rescue as an 8-month old Rescue puppy, the day before Thanksgiving, 2012. Due to her solid black coat color, I marked her collar, Seatbelt Harness and Thunder Shirt 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 Thunder Shirt 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 the 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 micro-chipped, registered with Home Again, and GPS-tracked with Tagg™.

 


Ninja in her reflector tape marked
Thunder Shirt, Kurgo Dog Seatbelt Harness and Tagg™ Pet Tracker mounted on the harness above the withers.


The “Dollar Store” reflective collar – cut and used to mark the
Thunder Shirt

 

 

 

HOW TO LOCATE A "LOST" PET or a "LOST" (detached from collar) TRACKER

 

My 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.

 

I 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.

 

I took my Android phone outside and activated the TRACKING, then selected “GET DIRECTIONS” from the menu bar at the bottom of the screen.

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).

 

 

A screen shot showing my position (blue dot) approaching the “lost” Tracker.

 

I 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 the 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[9] 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 underbrush.
 

 

If 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 Station.

 

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 24 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:

http://www.amazon.com/review/R1X5YRCXRA6GA7/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B0077I42S4&linkCode=&nodeID=&tag=

 

Tagg™ is a registered trademark of Snaptracs, Inc., a Qualcomm Company.

 


FOOTNOTES


[1] Setup is done online using the Unique Tracker serial number, your email address and a password you select. You can also upload your pet’s photo, and provide vital statistics needed to activate “Activity Tracking”.

[2] Browser used in the PC screen shot is Maxthon 2.0 – a tabbed, split screen capable browser (see www.Maxthon.com)

[3] Maps are generated from the latest Google Earth database maps, and are identical in quality and resolution as Google Earth maps that can be displayed with the Google Earth program.

[4] The Tagg™ Company is owned by Qualcomm. The Tracker uses the Verizon wireless network.

[5] Placing the Tracker away from metal appliances and / or on a high shelf will increase its range.

[6] There is no charge to use the GPS system, but the Tracker needs the Qualcomm Cellular Network to send position data to you.

[7] I hesitate to use the word “FREE” – because nothing is “free” in this world.

[8] The ‘fee’ is for access to the Qualcomm Cellular Network which is used to send GPS location data back to you.

[9] DIY – “Do It Yourself”.

 
   

 

 

null

Everyone who lives out in the woods or in rural areas and has a dog that roams around freely on acres of property, or on property adjoining wilderness areas such as the New Jersey Pine Barrens (where I live), needs to get their dog a GPS tracking device. The unit is inexpensive, and the monthly tracking service is less than two Lattes at Starbucks. We don't make any commissions on this recommendation; we promote it because we love dogs.  Get one for your dog.

 

 

AMAZON LINKS

 Tagg-The Pet Tracker Master Kit, White

 

 

 

 

Kurgo TruFit Smart Dog Harness, Brown, Medium

Kurgo Dog Seatbelt Harness

 


 

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Last modified: 08/31/16

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