Top positive review
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Do You Know Where Your Dog Is?
on June 8, 2017
I purchased my Whistle 3 from Amazon about 3 weeks ago to keep track of my escape artist, and wide roaming, Siberian Husky. I live on a ranch in the mountains of very rural western Colorado where finding a fast traveling dog is virtually impossible without a GPS tracker like the Whistler 3.
A lot of thought went into designing this product. First, there's the physical unit that is small (approximately 1.6"x1.3"x .6") and weighs less than an ounce. It attaches easily and securely to collars up to 1" wide. It uses GPS to determine location when your dog, cat or T-Rex is away from "home" and then sends the location to your smart phone via 3G cellular service (no SIM card purchase required). GPS and 3G is important. There are a lot of pet trackers that use Bluetooth, which has a very limited range (100 feet max), or if they use GPS, connect to the cellular network via 2G, which unlike 3G, doesn't have complete US coverage. On several occasions, I've tested Whistle’s location accuracy and in general it's within about 10 to 15 feet. The app shows a shaded circle around the pet’s estimated location that gives a sense of the accuracy of the estimate. Whistle requires that you have Wi-Fi at home or where you want to designate a “safe place,” of which you can have several. When your pet is within the range of designated Wi-Fi locations, Whistle switches from GPS to Wi-Fi to save power and battery time. And then when your pet goes (escapes) outside of Wi-Fi range, it automatically switches back to GPS. If your pet stays in home Wi-Fi range, you can assume about 5 or 6 days on a battery charge, but if continuously outside of its home Wi-Fi range assume 1 or 2 days on a charge. I try to keep my battery well charged just in case my escape-artist husky decides to go in an adventure. I don’t want it to run down while I’m in hot pursuit. Oh, and for those with hunting dogs, or other water loving creatures, the unit is waterproof.
All too often the electronics of gadgets like Whistle are designed by brilliant engineers, but the apps that drive them appear to have been developed by crazed aliens from planet Blx!#}. Not so with Whistle. The app is really quite good. Setting it up takes about 10 minutes and is pretty easy. While at home or other designated Wi-Fi location, the app’s screen shows your pet within a shaded circle indicating the approximate range of the Wi-Fi router. You can set up the app to send you an alert, test or email when your pet goes in or out of Wi-Fi range. If you open the app while your pet is beyond Wi-Fi range, the screen will show your pet’s most recent location on a map, satellite or terrain view. You can also look at the track of any trips he or she has taken during the latest 24 hours. Location in tracking mode updates about every minute. In addition to showing your pet’s location in either Location or Tracking mode, your location (cell phone location) is also shown on the screen, giving you an idea of how far away your pet is, and what direction to go to find him/her. There is also an Activity mode to give you a sense of how many minutes of exercise your pet is getting each day. Finally, the app shows you the percentage of battery charge remaining and sends an alert if the battery charge is low. If the unit is on the charger, the app will also send an alert when it’s fully charged.
Though I haven’t had a reason to call Whistle’s customer support, I did email them with a question that wasn’t answered in their website’s FAQ’s and received a very understandable response within a few hours and an offer to take care of the issue. When I didn’t respond over the weekend, I received a second email reminding me that they would fix things if I wanted them to. That’s pretty good customer service in my book. Though it’s difficult to tell from a couple of brief interactions, I have the sense that the folks at Whistle not only care about their customers, but their customers’ pets, too.
There is a subscription charge of about $8 a month, if purchased annually, to cover the cost of cellular service to communicate between the tracking unit and your cell phone. For me, $8 is a small price for peace of mind when my four-pawed friend goes wandering. Particularly, if I can catch him. Note, the cellular service Whistle uses has nothing to do with the cellular provider you use for your mobile phone, so it works regardless of which company supplies you with cell service. One $8 subscription allows multiple pets and multiple “owners”—other family members or friends.
All in all, this is one heck of a product. I heartily recommend it, and give it a 5-star rating.