Every dog owner wants to keep their dog’s safe! Pets are a part of the family and all of us have suffered a few scary moments here and there when it comes to our furry companions. Perhaps your dog charged out the door once, jerked the leash out of your hand or somehow managed to escape a yard that you thought was fully secure. Regardless of the reason your dog got loose, knowing that you have the ability to find them quickly gives you some peace of mind! The Fi GPS Collar can be a great tool for owners and their dogs during scary situations.
The American Humane Association estimates that nearly 10 million pets are lost each year in the US and that 1 out of every 3 pets will become lost at some point in their lives. Scary right? It’s even scarier when you pair it will the number of pets that are successfully recovered and the ones who are put down in shelters.
There are numerous tools that owners can use to help keep their pets safe and we touched on a few of these for our article Hiking with Dogs but I really wanted to give a more in-depth review and explanation of the Fi GPS Collar that we received for that article.
Fi GPS Collar Review, Setting Your Mind At Ease.
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What is the Fi Collar?
The Fi Collar for dogs is a GPS collar which can be connected to AT&T’s LTE-M network through a subscription to provide advanced location features. The Fi Collar was developed both to help owners find dogs who have gone missing and escaped as well as to give them more security while enjoying off-leash activities.
For owners who employ dog walkers or are nervous leaving their dogs in the care of others while they are away from home, the Fi Collar can give them a lot of peace of mind. Using the Fi Collar application (which you can download on both Android and iPhone) you are able to get notifications every time your dog leaves a safe zone. If they leave with a designated handler (your spouse, your child, or a Dogsitter) you can connect their phone and know who they left with.
Setting Up Your Fi Collar
The Fi GPS Collar comes in a nifty little box of fun! Bright colors and easy instructions make setting up your collar a breeze. When you first open the Fi Collar box you’ll find an instruction card telling you to download the application onto your phone, the collar in whatever color you picked (grey or yellow at the moment) and a charging base & cord.
After downloading the application you will be prompted to plug in your base and connect it to your wi-fi network. Once the base is successfully connected you can activate the collar. The application takes you through this process step by step and it’s all very easy. Make sure that you do this with a good wi-fi signal and that the collar is settled on the base properly to make sure the collar activates successfully. Don’t worry, your application will tell you if something doesn’t go quite right! I had to try this step a few times due to our internet acting up.
With your collar activated you will be prompted to set your home location and set up your dog’s profile. You can add your dog’s name, a photo, breed, age and various details to personalize your experience. You can even change the light color for your collar to fit your dog (Connor’s color is currently Cyan).
Once your profile is set up you can add multiple handlers under the owner section, set up separate safe zones for areas your dog spends time at and even set a ‘step goal’ to make sure your furry friend is as healthy and active as you want him to be!
Do I have to Subscribe to Benefit From Fi Collar?
To get the most from your GPS collar’s safety features than a subscription will be necessary. Subscriptions give you access to the full capabilities of your Fi Collar and will allow you to find your dog should it become lost or escape your yard. Without a subscription, your FI Collar will only be able to track your dog while it is connected to either a phone or the Fi Base.
Without a subscription, you will still be able to track your dog while it is on walks with a handler who has a connected phone, keep track of your dog’s activity levels and monitor them while at home. For the full details of what you can and can not do with and without a subscription, you can check out their Pricing and Subscription FAQ Page.
What Do You Love About The Fi GPS Collar?
While Connor is not a huge fan of swimming we do spend time near water or out in the rain from time to time and knowing that this collar has an IP68 rating means that I don’t have to worry if he does decide to splash around a little bit. An IP68 rating means that the collar is resistant to submersion up to a maximum depth of 1.5m underwater for up to thirty minutes.
While we were in Miami over the summer Connor did go in the pool and the collar continued to work without any trouble!
The Long Battery Life
The Fi Collar has a pretty great battery. At home when connected to our Fi base Connor can wear this collar for weeks before I even think about checking the charge. While we were away for vacation I brought the base with me but did not plug it in just so that I could test the battery. When we left home Connors collar had a 67% percent charge. It finally died on the way back home the following Friday and that’s with me playing with the lights and the settings all week long for fun. I mean having your dog play around outside in the dark with a blinking light while the 4th of July fireworks are going off is just fun!
Had I plugged in the Fi Base and connected it to our hosts Wi-Fi then the collar would have come back with probably more then 50% charge as the collar goes down very little here at the house.
Connor lives in a pretty active household. We run, hike and play fetch outside all the time! He deals with kids, neighbor dogs and all sorts of things that can put a beating on his equipment. Probably the biggest test for this collar, however, has been Echo.
Connor is a complete pushover when it comes to Echo and he lets her get away with absolute murder. This has included letting her hang off his collar during play and roughhousing. He’s probably one of the best dogs I’ve ever had when it comes to raising puppies but in the process, Echo has put his collar through the wringer.
I admit that there are some scratches on the metal buckle and I can see where Eho’s teeth have left marks on the band, however, there has been no fraying and no signs of wear that I consider concerning. I have full confidence that this collar will last a very long time and that it’s not going to fail when I need it. t
The Ability to Designate More Than One Owner and Safe Zones
Partially because of where we live – far away from most family support – and partially because we just prefer to do things together, it’s very rare that our family goes away without taking the dogs with us. We go camping, hiking and we stay with friends a few times a year.
I love having the ability to easily designate a particular spot as a safe zone and to be notified if my dog leaves. This means I can let them explore a fenced yard at my friend’s house or a campsite without having to stress and worry all the time about him finding a way out. Connor rarely leaves my side and I can call him off pretty much everything if I’m there to see it – however, he does have a strong prey drive and he’s less likely to come back for my kids. If he decides to chase a rabbit or a cat through a fence while I’m in the bathroom and my kids are watching him at least I will know and be able to locate him quickly even if we aren’t at home.
I also find the multiple owner function very useful! If my husband takes the dogs for a walk and I’m cooking supper I can check on their progress by phone and time my meal accordingly. While we don’t use dog walkers I can definitely see where this function would be extremely helpful there as well.
The Ability To Use It Like a Doggy Fitness Tracker
I have no doubt that both Connor and Echo get a high level of activity in their daily lives. Echo’s activity, of course, is less because she’s still a puppy and we don’t want to stress her joints but Connor enjoys running with me on a regular basis!
It’s pretty neat to look back and match his activity levels to my own fitness tracker. If you happen to be a person motivated by goals and numbers then this feature can have almost the same effect as the one you might wear yourself.
What Don’t You Like About The Fi GPS Collar?
Honestly? I don’t have a lot of criticisms. I definitely think its a very valuable tool however I do wish it was capable of using more than the At &T network because let’s face it…At &T certainly isn’t the best when it comes to more remote locations but it’s functional in most places and that’s good enough for our uses.
I also wish that they had more color choices! Purely cosmetic but I picked grey for Connor because I just really don’t like yellow haha! I wish that there were more options for the band color – perhaps blue or red. Greens and purples might be nice too! I do love that I can change the color of the light on the collar, even if they don’t release more band color options at least the light makes it somewhat personalized!