Gear

Best Smart Dog Collar: Fi vs Whistle vs Tractive vs FitBark vs Halo 2+ vs SpotOn vs Invoxia & More

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Last Updated: February 20, 2024 | 13 min read | 1 Comment

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Are you looking for a smart collar for your dog? Smart collars have a variety of features, such as GPS tracking, health monitoring, and activity tracking. Some combine all these features in one collar, while others focus more on your dog’s fitness (like a Fitbit for dogs). The collar’s device connects to an app on your smartphone, where you can monitor your pup’s activity. We’ve delved into the best on the market and give you our top picks in our smart dog collar reviews.

GPSAll-In-OneValueHealth & Fitness
SpotOn collar and appHalo collar 2TractiveFitbark 2
SpotOnHaloTractiveFitBark 2
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Best Smart Dog Collars

We’ve chosen our top picks and other collars based on the accuracy of each collar, tracking features for location and fitness, pricing, customer service, user feedback, and more.

GPS: SpotOn Virtual Fence Review

SpotOn tracker and phone

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SpotOn GPS Fence is a superb option if you want an easy-to-use virtual fencing system and GPS tracker, particularly if you have a large property. SpotOn uses a unique “True Location” GPS technology to keep your pup contained in the boundaries you set. You can create unlimited overlapping fences that work on GPS without the monthly fee for cellular coverage.

However, SpotOn’s cell service is necessary to receive alerts that your dog has left your yard and to track his whereabouts. (You can get a 90-day free trial if you sign up for the one or two-year plan.) SpotOn has 30 customizable correction modes, including vibrations, sound, or static feedback. You also get detailed training materials and one-on-one training sessions with one of SpotOn’s certified dog trainers. The primary downsides to SpotOn GPS Fence are its high cost and that it is not designed to work in small areas.

Our Personal Experience With SpotOn GPS Fence

We had the opportunity to try SpotOn’s collar with our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in exchange for an honest review. The collar itself was easy to set up, attach the contact points, and adjust the size. After activating the collar and creating an account, you can walk with your dog on a leash to create your virtual fence in real time. I was impressed at how detailed the fence line was and how accurate the invisible fence lines were.

When getting close to the “edge,” it makes a loud beep. As you get closer to the boundary, there is a two-tone alert. And if you cross the boundary, the collar vibrates. There’s no subscription required for the fence feedback, but if you want GPS tracking that is an additional monthly fee. If you’re looking for a way to contain your dog without a fence or wires, this training collar may beworth the investment.

Sadie Cornelius, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog parent
ProsCons
Can create multiple, overlapping wireless fences over 1,000s of acresExpensive
Easy to set upRequires a minimum of 1/2 acre
Real-time alerts and accurate GPS tracking via 4 dedicated satellite systemsLikely won’t fit very small or very large dogs (10″-26″ neck sizes)
IP-67 waterproof ratingMust pay a monthly fee for alert and tracking feature to work
Battery life is 14-22 hours, depending on the mode you’re using
Portable system that works with any terrain
Mobile apps get good reviews
1-year limited warranty
90-day money-back guarantee
10% discount on multi-collar purchases

Price

Coupon

Use coupon code CANINE to get $50 off your SpotOn purchase via this link.

Monthly Subscription

An optional subscription gets you access to the GPS tracking (without a plan you can only use the device and app as a fence and get alerts if/when they are out of their safe zone). A 1-year or 2-year plan comes with a 90-day free trial.

  • Month to Month: $9.95/month
  • 1-Year: $7.95/month (save 20%)
  • 2-Years: $5.95/month (save 40%)

In-Depth SpotOn GPS Fence Review

Be sure to see our full review of SpotOn GPS Fence for more details on how this GPS collar works to contain your pup.

All-In-One: Halo Collar 3 Review

Halo 3 Collars

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The Halo Collar 3, backed by the famous dog expert Cesar Millan, is our top pick for the best all-in-one smart dog collar. This device is a smart wireless dog fencing system, GPS activity tracker, and remote training collar in one collar. Halo uses GPS/GNSS, LTE, Bluetooth, and WiFi technologies to set boundaries, track your dog’s activity, and send you escape alerts via the app.

You can customize Halo to keep your dog in-bounds via vibrations, sound, or static correction (a tapping sensation), effectively using it as a smart dog training collar. It includes Cesar Millan’s 21-day training program to teach your dog how to adapt to the system (and many other indoor and outdoor training tips). It also keeps track of the number of walks your dog takes and the time spent active vs resting.

The new and improved Halo Collar 3 includes upgrades that specifically address customer feedback from the original Halo Collar. These improvements include enhanced GPS coverage using cell carriers, better location accuracy, a 24-hour battery life, a much more rugged collar with a Pro-case that can withstand chewing and harsh terrain, a magnetic doc that doesn’t trap dirt and debris, as well as better cellular, WiFi, and Bluetooth performance.

The Halo could be a great solution if you need a smart training collar for a medium yard.

Our Personal Experience With Halo Collar 3

Halo Collar 3 box and contents

The app walked me through a series of training videos which are both entertaining and informative. The quality is very cinematic, and the text helps reinforce the audio instructions. After learning about types of feedback (prevention and encouragement), I worked on beacon training. This gets your dog accustomed to feedback in a safe, indoor setting.

You’ll manually give your dog feedback (sound or stimulation) and a reward to guide them away from the “no-go zone.” You’ll repeat these steps several times for 30 minutes and do at least 3-4 sessions before building up to outdoor boundaries. Eventually, when you turn the beacons on, the beacon will automatically give feedback when your pup gets within a certain range of the no-go zone. Georgie responded well to the feedback, and I am pleased with the GPS location tracking improvement from the Halo 2+ which we tested previously.

– Sadie Cornelius, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog parent
ProsCons
Ability to set up 20 customizable virtual wireless fencesExpensive
Covers up to 10 square milesRequires a monthly subscription
Battery life averages 20 hoursNot for small dogs (minimum neck size is 11″ and minimum weight is 20 lbs)
IP-67 water-resistant rating
Portable system that works with any terrain
Apps get generally good reviews
30-day satisfaction guarantee
1-year limited warranty
Customer service and tech support via live Zoom sessions, phone, and email

Price

Monthly Subscription

A required monthly subscription gets you access to the GPS tracker, training tools, and activity monitoring. Each plan gives you different features and advanced tracking, feedback, and support.

  • Bronze: $5.99/month
  • Silver (recommended): $9.99/month (+ custom support, custom ranges, advanced tracing, instant feedback)
  • Gold: $29.99/month (+ premium training lessons each month, live sessions with trainers)

Coupon Code

Use this link to get $25 off your Halo Collar purchase and unlock a special discount.

In-Depth Halo Collar Review

Read our full review of Halo Collar to see our step-by-step personal experience using this GPS collar.

This brief video gives you a snapshot of how Halo Collar works.

Best Value: Tractive GPS Tracker For Dogs Review

Tractive GPS Tracker For Dogs and app

View on Tractive | View on Amazon

Tractive is a very affordable smart device that snaps easily and securely on most dog collars. It uses GPS and LTE technology to keep tabs on your pup (it connects to AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile). And its live-tracking mode updates every two to three seconds (more often than many other devices) — an excellent feature for finding your escape artist.

You set up a virtual fence in your yard via the app and train your pup to stay within your boundaries. If your dog leaves his safe zone, the collar goes into “lost-dog mode,” and you’ll get a text alert. It also tracks your dog’s active and rest times and calories burned. And it works in over 150 countries. Tractive is an excellent value considering the accuracy and reliability of this device. This makes it one of the most affordable GPS dog trackers on the market.

Our Personal Experience With Tractive

We’ve been using Tractive for over a year with our two-and-a-half year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Georgie.

He’s an escape artist so I wanted a way to be able to locate him should he get loose (in addition to having a microchip and an ID collar). I get alerts as soon as he leaves his “safe zone” on walks around the block and know when he’s safely returned.

This feature comes in handy when I’m not home; I know if my husband has taken him out on a walk. I also like seeing the heat map of where he’s been on walks when he stays with a sitter.

The Tractive device is super slim, lightweight and attaches to Georgie’s harness. He doesn’t even notice he’s wearing it but other people comment on it asking what it is!

For the price point, it’s an affordable solution to have a reliable way to keep track of your dog.

– Sadie Cornelius, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog parent
ProsCons
Excellent valueRequires a monthly service fee
Easy to set up and activateSome consumers complaints about short battery life
Lightweight device for dogs 9 pounds or more
Unlimited range (as long as you have LTE connection)
Receive text alerts if your dog leaves his safe zone
Mobile apps get fantastic reviews
Batteries last 4-7 days, and it fully recharges in 2 hours
IPX7 waterproof rating
Built-in LED light
30-day money-back guarantee
1-year limited warranty
Users report excellent customer support

Price

Monthly Subscription

A required monthly subscription gets you access to your dog’s location and activity.

  • Month to Month Basic: $13/month
  • 1-Year: $8-9/month ($96-$108 billed annually)
  • 2-Years: $6-7/month ($144-$168 billed every 2 years)
  • 5-Years (Premium Plan Only): $5/month ($300 billed every 5 years)

Best For Health & Fitness: FitBark 2 Dog Activity Monitor Review

View on FitBark | View on Amazon

Want to keep track of your pup’s overall wellness? FitBark 2 can turn nearly any collar into a smart collar with activity and health tracking. It fits most flat dog collars up to 1.5″ wide and is designed for dogs of all sizes. You can monitor your pup’s activity, sleep quality, distance, calories burned, and more through the mobile app. And you can set activity goals and compare your pup’s activity to dogs of a similar breed, age, and weight. You can also sync it with Fitbit, Apple Watch, Apple HealthKit, or Google Fit wearable devices.

Unlike our other top picks, this FitBark 2 device isn’t a GPS location tracker, but they do offer a separate device, the FitBark GPS Dog Tracker 2nd Gen, which combines GPS tracking with all the features of this activity monitor, all for a competitive upfront price. Just keep in mind the FitBark GPS Tracker requires a monthly subscription.

Our Experience with FitBark

Screenshot of Fitbark app

The co-founder of this website, Michelle, uses FitBark with her dog, Lily. Here’s what Michelle had to say:

We have two dogs but Lily is the one always running around the yard and getting into trouble with the wildlife. So we thought it would be interesting to see how her activity tracks throughout any given day using the FitBark. We have only had it for about a week, but Lily has exceeded her activity goals every day so far, and the well-designed smartphone app keeps us current on her activity and rest for every hour of the day. It is really neat to see how often she plays vs. is mildly active and it even surprised us to see that one night she did not sleep so well.

An added bonus, that we had not anticipated, is that when Lily’s activity was pacing below her goal for the day, the app sent a notification to let us know. That motivated us to take both dogs on a walk right away. So, the activity monitor is encouraging its owners as much as its wearer (maybe more so, ha!) to be more active.

Michelle Schenker, rescue dog parent
ProsCons
Tracks behavior changes (rest, active, and playtime)Short battery life (for GPS)
Compares with similar dog breeds, age, and sizeGPS requires monthly subscription
Lightweight and one size fits any dogSome reports of the device breaking or falling off
Waterproof and can withstand rugged movements and play
No monthly fees (for activity tracker)
Rechargeable battery (life up to 6 months)
Used by 100+ universities for research
30-day money-back guarantee
Used by 100+ universities for research
Excellent customer service reviews

Price

Monthly Subscription

A required monthly subscription gets you access to the GPS and health tracker capabilities (via iPhone or Google Android app).

  • Month to Month: $9.95/month
  • 1-Year: $7.95/month (save 20%)
  • 2-Years: $6.95/month (save 30%)
  • 3-Years: $5.95/month (save 40%)

In-Depth FitBark 2 Review

Our full review of FitBark gives you more detailed information and key features.

What About Fi Collar, Invoxia & Whistle Go?

These smart collars didn’t make it into our top rankings, but they’re still certainly worth considering

Fi Smart Dog Collar Series 3 Review

Fi Smart Dog Collar Series 3

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Fi uses GPS and the AT&T LTE-M cellular network to keep tabs on your pup in real time and has lost-dog mode escape alerts. Fi also allows you to keep track of your dog’s daily activity, from distance traveled to sleep monitoring. You can set goals for daily steps to keep your pup in shape. You can even connect with and compete with fellow Fi users. The chew-proof and waterproof collar comes in four colors and five sizes, ranging from 9.5″ to 31″, so it fits a wide variety of dogs.

To save battery life, the Fi Collar will dynamically connect to WiFi or local Bluetooth beacons, such as your phone or the Fi charging base. Many users, however, said this could be inconvenient. Users say the battery drains very quickly when not connected to WiFi or Bluetooth.

Unlike other smart dog collars, Fi includes the price of the Series 3 collar in its required subscription prices. While this may seem like an amazing deal, the subscription prices are significantly higher than others, making it more expensive over the long run.

So, why didn’t Fi make it into our top picks? We’ve seen several user reviews about the company’s poor customer service and spotty GPS location accuracy.

ProsCons
Fits dogs of many sizes More user complaints about GPS accuracy than our top winners
Customizable geo-fencingSeveral complaints about poor customer service
Fast escape alertsRequires a monthly subscription
Health and fitness trackerApps generally get poor reviews
IP68 waterproof-rated collar
Rechargeable battery life up to 3 months (but this can vary widely)
Built-in LED light
30-day satisfaction guarantee
Unlimited warranty for active memberships

Price

All memberships include the Fi Series 3 collar.

  • Monthly membership: $19/month (requires a 6-month commitment)
  • 6-month membership: $102
  • 1-year membership: $192
  • 2-year membership: $336
  • View all options

Invoxia Smart Dog Collar Review

Invoxia Smart Dog Collar

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A CES 2022 Innovation Award Honoree, the Invoxia Smart Dog Collar is the first advanced biometric dog collar with GPS tracking and health scanning. What sets this collar apart from the rest? It monitors your pup’s heart and respiratory rate — a huge plus if you have an elderly or ill dog. It also includes sleep monitoring and tracks your pup’s daily steps, mealtimes, and more.

An ongoing subscription is required for the collar to transfer data via the LTE-M network. What’s not to like about this collar? The most significant missing feature is the lack of geo-fencing, so you can’t set up boundaries and get alerts if your pup leaves your yard. It also doesn’t come in a small size.

ProsCons
Has won several innovation awardsNot available in small sizes (for 22+ pounds; neck size greater than 11.5 inches)
Reliable location trackingCan’t set up virtual fences or get escape alerts (but they say these features are coming soon)
Continuously monitors heart and respiratory ratesA few reports that the collar gets glitchy with time
Great battery life (up to 2 weeks)Several users say customer support is hard to reach and unhelpful
Tracks activity level, sleep, and daily habitsRequires a subscription
Water-resistant
30-day money-back guarantee
2-year warranty

Price

Monthly Subscription

A required monthly subscription gives you access to GPS and health tracking capabilities (via iOS or Android app).

  • Month to month: $13/month
  • 1-Year: $11/month
  • 2-Years: $10/month

Whistle GO Explore Health & GPS Review

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The Whistle Health & GPS combines location and health tracking in one device. The real-time GPS location tracking uses the AT&T LTE network and Google Maps and sends you alerts via mobile app or text if your dog escapes the boundaries you’ve set. The live-tracking, however, only updates every 15 seconds, which is a bit slow compared to other products.

The fitness and health features allow you to set alerts for over-scratching, oversleeping, and more. You can also monitor and set activity goals for distance traveled and calories burned. Whistle also includes a free Televet feature (by the VETINSIGHT group), with chat, call, video, and email.

The device comes in three colors and fits most collars, but you can also purchase Whistle’s durable nylon collar that comes in six colors and three sizes, ranging from 14″ to 26.” Whistle also sells a similar GPS and Health device called Whistle GPS & Health + that comes on a collar and is better for small dogs (as little as five pounds). Or, if you just want a health and fitness tracker, you can opt for Whistle Health. Whistle didn’t make our top picks due to complaints about GPS reliability and tech support problems.

ProsCons
Excellent health and fitness monitoring featuresNot for dogs under 25 pounds
Includes free on-demand chat-with-a-vet serviceRequires a monthly subscription
Ability to set a customizable safe zoneSeveral complaints about inaccurate location tracking and poor customer support
Escape alerts via text or app
Apps get positive user reviews
IPX8 waterproof rating
Rechargeable battery life up to 20 days
Built-in night light
30-day satisfaction guarantee
1-year warranty

Price

Monthly Subscription

A required monthly subscription gets you access to GPS location tracking, health data, and proactive alerts.

  • Whistle GPS + Health: $8.25/month or $99 billed annually.
  • Whistle Health: $3.33/month or $40/annually.

Frequently Asked Questions

Pet owners have many questions about smart dog collars, and here a just a few of the most common ones. Don’t see yours here? Ask us in our comments.

What Is A Smart Dog Collar?

At their most basic, smart dog collars or devices that you attach to your pup’s collar connect your smartphone to the collar. Most use GPS and cellular signals to keep tabs on your dog’s activity and whereabouts. You can see this information and more by just going into the app on your phone.

Can You Use Smart Collars With Multiple Dogs?

Yes. However, you’ll need to purchase a separate collar and a separate subscription plan for each dog. Many of these systems allow you to manage multiple dog collars within the app. And some give you discounts for multiple dog collar purchases.

Are Smart Tags As Effective As Smart Dog Collars?

No. Smart tags, like the Apple AirTag or Samsung Galaxy SmartTag, rely on the proximity of smartphones to track them. If your pup has escaped your yard, he would have to come within about 200 feet of a smartphone to find his location — and even then, it only pinpoints that one location. Also, you can’t get real-time tracking, so with a dog on the move, a smart tag isn’t very helpful.

Looking For More Types Of Dog Collars?

If you want to take your dog hiking or camping or you live in a remote area, there are some excellent GPS dog tracking collars that don’t require cell coverage like the ones in this article do. You may want to consider a more affordable and fully functional remote dog training collar than Halo. We also have reviews of light-up dog collars to keep your pup safe at night and personalized dog collars, which are an excellent alternative to flimsy ID tags that can fall off.

Why Trust Canine Journal?

Sally has over 10 years of experience researching hundreds of pet products — everything from collars and accessories to food and supplements — to determine their safety, efficacy, and nutritional value for our four-legged friends. Another member of our team, Sadie, has personally tested nearly all of these collars with her dogs, making her a trusted resource on smart dog collars. Sally and Sadie are both part of a team of dedicated canine professionals who test and research the best pet products, not only for our own pups but for all of our readers.

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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