There's a road, keeps on calling me! The DOGtrace X20 Dog GPS Tracker

It's always difficult to know how your dog is going to react to different training styles. Inuk the Shepsky, German Shepherd cross Husky seemed to keep a safe distance to me and be constantly checking where I was. I crossed my fingers and hoped German Shepherd traits would override the rumours you hear about huskies wandering off. I continued to walk her off the lead, mainly down the enclosed canal tow path since I had her at 8 weeks.

Training was confined to a small space about 20m x 7m but with an open end where she could get to the canal and road and she did know what was beyond that imaginary line due to the walks. With a firm command as she approached this line and armed with the treats in my pocket she had no interest in stepping one foot further. We'd even pop out to this spot for toilet (off the lead) and she'd come straight back in doors on cue!

It was around 6 to 8 months I noticed a change in her behaviour. She'd always been a scavenger which drew her further afield but the instinct to chase, cats, pigeons, ducks and squirrels. As she began to understand the difference between good and bad behaviour, if she knew she'd been bad, not come back on cue, chased something and gone near a road, the husky kicked in. Friends agreed you could see it in her eyes, she's thinking 'why would I come back to be told off' it was then I realised the difference in positive and negative training techniques and different breeds (more on that another time) this happened one or two times but as I continued the daily routine she quickly forgot this behaviour in these locations.

And so, the icing on the cake! An unfortunate sequence of events. One afternoon while at the farm where I run a business, she picked up a road kill rabbit, with meat exposed she ran off into the field with it. Surprisingly when I caught up with her she gave it up and recalled quite well ...but not too long after on a walk down a disused railway track she caught and killed another rabbit. Not uncommon I later found in many breeds! This scenario was different, every time I got close she'd pick up and run away, each time with a little less on the rabbit. When it was finally gone there was no recall, not sit, no stay, nothing. As I had before tricked her back into the lead with treats this time I called a friend and his dog. If you switch her back into play mode and the most lifts from her eyes she'd recall straight away. But each time she'd grow wise to the tricks.

Back on the farm the draw of rabbits, and waste food had become a problem. Where I could usually have her off the lead and under control. If she stepped beyond the circle of control you'd see the most ...and then she was off. It wouldn't be a problem as I know where she goes but they don't like it on the farm so I could not continue any routine. If the doors were open she was penned in or on a tether. But this meant, at the slightest opportunity she'd be off.

The DOGtrace X20

DOGtrace X20There's no worse feeling than you thinking you might have lost your dog, she might have wondered to the busy road or evening someone's made off with her. All these things run through your mind during the search. When you know where she is it's different! There's some element of cornering or ushering away from danger. I'd looked at many tracking devices, all with the need for a data connection to transmit the gps and of course reliant on phone signal. All great but the locations you are most likely to be in this situation is usually remote.Armed with the Dog Trace X20 I headed down to East Head on the West Wittering Estate. I have no problem recalling here, only the farm! But I know there's rabbits in the dunes and bramble bushes so as we walk on the inland side off the peninsula she'd be off on the hunt. With the collar and handset paired and full GPS signal we set off. The handset is fairly simple with 4 buttons and a simple, hold the 2 components together to turn the collar on system. The range is up to a massive 20km but we wouldn't be getting to test that today. While she's close the handset signals this so I sent her off into the dunes for a hunt. Very accurately the device tells you the dogs direction and distance so I continued the walk her down, not looking back and not with the usual occasional recall. At times she was 80m away, out of sight but I knew exactly which bush she was patrolling

DOGtrace X20

The system comes with lots of other functions including beeper, fence and can even monitor up to 9 dogs. It's waterproof and for me this means sand proof which is great for down the beach.

In my opinion, keeping you dog on the lead at times they should be able to roam is not the solution to the wandering dog problem. I managed to correct this behaviour in locations where I still had some element of control. But it's piece of mind you need in order to remain in the correct state of mind yourself to deal with the issue and train it out.

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