Tractive review article
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There are lots of dog GPS trackers on the market, but many of them are geared toward larger breeds due to their bulky sizes. My little rescue dog is only about 15 pounds. So, while those products are effective in tracking dogs, they can be uncomfortable for my dog, Mabel. Yet, little dogs can get lost just like big dogs can, so it’s important for dog parents to have a way to keep track of them if they get loose. Thus, I recently tested out the classic Tractive GPS Tracker for Dogs on my furry friend to help keep her safe without the product being too heavy for her.

Mabel with Tractive GPS packaging

What I Received

Tractive sent me a classic GPS Tracker for Dogs, which can fit any dog above 8.8 pounds (4 kg). It measures 2.8 x 1.1 x 0.6 in (71 x 28 x 17 mm) and weighs 1.23 oz (35 g). It came with two colorful cases – one that’s a solid light pink color and another that has a blue marble pattern. Even though Mabel usually wears pink collars and harnesses, I mostly use the blue case because I love the way it looks.

It also included a short charging cable and a charging case to make it easy to recharge the battery.

Mabel with Tractive GPS cases

Setting it Up

Getting my GPS tracker set up was a little tricky at first because I couldn’t figure out how to charge it. There isn’t a spot to plug in a charging cable on my device, and I didn’t see instructions on how to set it up. But then, after trying a few things, I realized that the product came with a charging case. You simply attach the case to the device and plug the charging cable into the case. Once I did that, it charged fully in less than an hour (it must not have been at 0% because the website says it takes about 3 hours to charge).

To set up the GPS, you need to have the Tractive app, which is free to download. Once I downloaded the app, it instructed me on how to set up the device, which was a pretty straightforward process. I just had to turn Bluetooth on, enter the device’s information, and add Mabel’s details once the device was connected. Normally, customers will need to choose a subscription plan when getting set up, but I was given an activation voucher to try out the product.

Battery Life

Even though I have the smallest Tractive device, it seems to have a reliable battery life. After using it for about 8 hours a day for several days, the battery is still at 90%. Thus, you could probably use it for over a week without needing to charge it. The website says it should last up to 10 days on one charge.

However, if you want an even better battery life, the XL version of this device has a battery that lasts longer. The website states that it can last up to a month on one charge. It’s a bigger device though, so it would probably be too clunky for little dogs like Mabel.

Mabel wearing Tractive GPS

Tracking My Dog

Once everything was set up, I clipped the device to Mabel’s collar and let her wear it throughout the day. It’s the perfect size for a small breed dog because Mabel was able to go about her routine without even noticing that there was something clipped to her collar. The only thing she dislikes about it is the beeping sound it makes when it turns on. The sound startles her sometimes because she’s sensitive to certain sounds. So, I always turn it on before attaching it to her collar.

Of course, the main benefit of this collar is tracking your dog’s location. So, I have taken Mabel on several walks while wearing the collar to make sure it accurately follows her. After each walk, I checked the app. Sure enough, I could see the exact route she had walked. If she ever got out of the house while wearing the tracker, I would be able to check my phone to see her location.

While Mabel is unlikely to wander from home, this tracker could be a lifesaver for families with escape-artist dogs. Personally, I could also see it coming in handy for camping trips. My family owns some land for camping and since it’s private property, many of the dogs stay off leash. I don’t normally feel comfortable having Mabel without a leash, but this tracker would help me keep better tabs on her while also giving her a little extra freedom.

Screenshot of Mabel's location

Other Features

In addition to showing your dog’s location, the app can also keep tabs on your dog’s health. You can set a goal for how many minutes you want your dog to be active each day, and it recommends a goal range based on your dog’s information. Even though Mabel is a super lazy dog, she meets or passes her exercise goal of 110 minutes every time she’s wearing this device. It’s likely because it’s counting her going up and down the stairs and playing with toys in addition to her walks.

It also tracks how much your dog sleeps, and for a laidback senior dog like Mabel, those results weren’t surprising. She has many hours of sleep both during the day and at night. However, I realized that if I forget to turn the device off when she’s not wearing it, the tracker thinks she’s sleeping that whole time. So, her results were a little skewed on days I forgot to have her wear the tracker.

Screenshot of Tractive activity monitoring

What I Love About This Tracker

My favorite thing about this tracker is that it’s small and lightweight. Whenever I put it on Mabel, she doesn’t even notice it’s there. So, it’s perfect for dog parents who want to keep the tracker on for long periods each day. It’s especially beneficial for small dogs since there aren’t many other reliable, compact trackers on the market.

I also love how easy it is to use the tracker and connect it to my phone. All I have to do is press and hold a button on the tracker and then turn my phone’s Bluetooth on. Then, without any extra steps, I can see the tracker’s location on the app.

Is There Anything I Think Could Be Better?

Overall, I like this tracker the way it is and wouldn’t suggest any significant changes. The only thing I struggled with was figuring out how to charge it. I didn’t realize mine came with a charging case, and I didn’t see any charging instructions in the box. So, maybe if there were some obvious charging instructions after opening the packaging, that would have made the setup even easier.

Mabel testing Tractive GPS

Would I Recommend This Dog GPS Tracker?

I would absolutely recommend the Tractive Dog GPS Tracker to anyone with a dog. Since it’s compact, it can be used on all breeds, even tiny dogs, without it bothering them. If your dog is wearing it when they escape, you can easily track their location using the app, helping you get them home as quickly as possible. In addition to location, it can also track your dog’s health, such as their exercise and sleep patterns. So, with all the information this tracker provides, you can keep your dog safe, healthy, and happy.

If you’ve been looking for an easy, comfortable way to keep tabs on your dog, consider purchasing the Tractive GPS Tracker. There’s also a Tractive XL Tracker, which is ideal for bigger dogs and has a longer battery life. If you’re interested in a Tractive product, you can get 20% off with the code IHDOGS20.

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