Now Wear This

Now Wear This!

Dog with camera on his head
Ready for adventure. Richard Masoner (CC)

What’s the world look like from your dog’s point of view? Get her geared up with a GoPro action camera, and you’ll get a whole new perspective.

You’ll need a harness to do the job right. Three popular models—one from Kurgo, one from Orvis and one called the GoPro Fetch—give you the option of mounting the camera on the dog’s back for an over-the-head-view, or on the chest for down-and-dirty scenarios. With any of them, you’ll have fun and at the same time gain new understanding into the visual world your dog inhabits.

But what if your fur buddy, say, disappears into the woods during an off-leash hike? Investing in a GPS tracking device isn’t a bad idea if your pup is prone to exploring. The gold-standard system is the Garmin Astro 320, which has a range of more than a mile (around $600).

Consumer Reports recently tested several more reasonably priced pet GPS devices, among them the TaggPetTracker, which many pet owners use to monitor their dog’s exercise (or lack thereof). It uses live map tracking technology to communicate via cell service and a smartphone app (subscription required). The PetTronixRoamEO, on the other hand, comes with its own handset and operates anywhere a GPS signal can be obtained. Many other models also are on the market, along with devices intended to keep track of pets and other objects at a shorter range.

Kensington’s Proximo Fob and Tag system, for example, is marketed to help keep track of your phone, purse or keys, but it’s also ideal for alerting you to when your dog (or child) wanders out of range. The Bluetooth-driven device works with an app on your iPhone 4S or 5 to digitally tether to up to five tagged objects, each of which can be given its own sensitivity (range) setting and alert tone. If you’ve taught your dog to stay in the family room but he sneaks upstairs and jumps on the bed with muddy paws instead… whoops—busted! Or, if you know Daisy is hiding somewhere in the house or yard but can’t find her (hmm, maybe she’s on the bed), just hit the button on the fob and the tag on her collar will beep, letting you know where she's hiding.

Similar devices include the StoneTether, which keeps track of dogs, kids and other objects within a 500-foot radius. Whistle and Fitbark (essentially a Fitbit for dogs), are collar-fitted activity monitors that function like four-paw pedometers to track and graph how your dog is exercising. They’re motivating for dog people, too!

And then there are digital pet ID tags from PetHub, which come in many designs, all featuring a QR code linking to your pet’s online profile. When a lost dog is found and the code scanned, the owner gets an instant smartphone alert. Now isn’t that smart!

Posted on: November 14, 2014

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