Why we purchased the Dogtra Pathfinder
In August of 2017, I took our two German Shorthairs out for a regular pre-season workout in the woods of Northern Michigan. Fifteen minutes into the outing we flushed a covey of Ruffed Grouse. As my attention was focused on our 13 month old puppy, I noticed our veteran dog Maggie was nowhere to be seen. I looked for her until dark and came back the next morning to continue the search. Several hours later she was finally found. It is a horrible feeling when a dog goes missing. That day I decided to do something about it. I went online, did the research, and purchased the Dogtra Pathfinder.
For a detailed feature list and specs visit the Dogtra Pathfinder website.
Price Point: First and foremost, the price point for the Pathfinder is what caught my attention. The unit costs $399 and includes the GPS Collar and Connector. Add on collars for additional dogs cost $249. Compare that to other mainline competitors that range from $600 to $800 for a single unit.
Working with your Phone: Having the Dogtra Pathfinder work directly on your phone is an awesome feature but comes with challenges depending on the weather conditions. The interface is simple to use making it easy to find the location of your dogs. This works great when the conditions are warm and dry. When we tried using the unit in snow or rain we found it difficult to use. Operating an iPhone in adverse conditions causes the thumbprint scanner and touch screen to be temperamental. Making it frustrating when you need quick access to the beep or stimulate commands.
We also noticed that we needed to restart our phone in order for the phone to sync properly and find the GPS units. This did not happen every time, but it happened enough to take notice.
During our initial research we noticed several reviews that expressed issues with battery life. We purchased an additional portable charger just in case. It was never needed.
Multiple Dogs: One of my favorite features of the Pathfinder is being able to run multiple dogs. I can quickly see where my dogs are located and switch between them to beep or make a correction. As a bonus I can track where both dogs have already been. Making it easier to walk new ground and not re-trace areas we already covered.
Peace of Mind and Training: The strength of the Dogtra Pathfinder is it's GPS tracking ability. It provides you the peace of mind knowing that you can always find your dog. Although it has both beep and stimulation features, we don't recommend using it as a training collar. The units stimulation has a short delay from when your finger taps the phone until it reaches the receiver. You risk having the stimulation confuse your dog. Consider using training collar instead.
Not having the handheld unit on a leash around your neck is an inconvenience. I use the beep as a correction command for my dogs. So when I am in the field, I don't want to be fishing in my pockets for my phone. I need to be hands free with quick access to make those necessary corrections.
We recommend to the Dogtra Pathfinder to anyone who desires a GPS tracking collar. It is priced right and has all the major features you would expect in a tracking unit. Although it is not ideal for day to day training, it provides that much needed peace of mind when out in the field.
Turn the cell service off on your phone when you are out in the field. Your phone will burn up more battery time as it continiously searches for a cell signal.
Remove the contact points and just use the collar as a GPS tracking unit. Try using another e-collar for training and corrections. This lets your phone stay dry in your pocket.