Gear

Tractive Reviews: Is This GPS Dog Tracker Reliable?  

Tara Maurer

Last Updated: June 5, 2024 | 7 min read | Leave a Comment

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Here’s how it works.

Cavalier wearing Tractive on harness.
Tractive GSP Trackers for dogs are a fun way to keep up on your dog’s health.
Photo by Sadie Cornelius for Canine Journal, © Cover Story Media, Inc. 2024.

Growing up, my parents always let our miniature poodle, Duffy, run through the streets of our small town. Duffy traveled here, there, everywhere, and my family would regularly get calls from the neighbors when he strayed past the city limits. 

Occasionally, after such adventures, Duffy would come home with a new “toy” or particularly putrid odor, and I’d wonder, “Where have you been?” I could have really used a GPS collar to track his adventures. 

I know what you’re thinking. Yes, letting your dog roam free isn’t safe—even if you live in a rural area. Please, please, please be a responsible dog owner and keep your pup from wandering around your community. That being said, there are still many benefits to purchasing a GPS collar for your pet. 

Our team has tested and reviewed one of the most popular pet trackers on the market, the Tractive GPS and health tracker. We break down the key features, pros, cons, subscription plans, and more. 

View on Tractive

Tractive Review

Product Name: Tractive

Product Description: Tractive is a GPS and health tracker for dogs.

Summary

Tractive GPS trackers for dogs combine fantastic location accuracy with additional wellness monitoring features at a reasonable price. LIVE tracking updates your pet’s location every 2 to 3 seconds so you can see exactly where their heading. You can also set up virtual fences to receive a text alert when your pup leaves a specific area. Bonus features include sleep and activity insights (e.g., if your pet is less active than usual).

Overall Score

4.5

Pros

  • Uses GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo natigation systems to determine dog’s location
  • LTE, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Geofencing feature to create virtual perimeter
  • Two sizes available
  • Lightweight
  • 100% waterproof
  • Two-year warranty
  • Quality mobile app

Cons

  • Requires monthly subscription
  • Premium subscription required for worldwide coverage, location history, family sharing, and GPS data export
  • May be less accurate indoors due to GPS interference

10 Key Features

Dog at beach wearing a Tractive GPS dog tracker on collar.
Photo courtesy of Tractive.
  1. Live tracking: Tractive’s real-time tracking lets you monitor your dog’s movements via your mobile app.
  2. Radar mode: Tap the app’s Radar button, and lights and sounds will guide you to your pet’s location. 
  3. Virtual fence: Set up to 5 geofences to receive alerts when your dog enters or exits a particular area.
  4. Location history and territory tracking: Tractive’s premium subscription includes a 1-year location history to see your dog’s previous routes.
  5. Wellness and activity monitoring: Tractive’s health monitoring includes sleep and activity level insights to give your dog an overall wellness score. You can see how your pup performs compared to others by checking the Tractive leaderboard.
  6. Health alerts: Receive email notifications of changes to your dog’s sleep and activity minutes.
  7. GPS data export: With Tractive’s premium subscription, you can share a tracking link with neighbors, pet sitters, and friends who don’t have a Tractive account. 
  8. Family sharing: Tractive’s premium subscription allows multiple users to view your pet’s tracking data when they create a free account.
  9. Waterproof: Tractive calls its tracker “100% adventure and waterproof.” It can be protected for 30 minutes in up to 1 meter of water.
  10. Unlimited range with premium plan.

How Does The Tractive GPS Tracker Work?

Person holding Tractive tracker on collar in front of a dog.
Photo by Sadie Cornelius for Canine Journal, © Cover Story Media, Inc. 2024.

The tracker uses a combination of satellite navigation and Bluetooth to locate and monitor your furry friend. 

GPS and other satellite navigation determine your dog’s location when they’re further from home. The tracker connects to LTE via the built-in SIM card to find your dog’s location within an unlimited range. This means you can see where your pet spends their time, even when you’re out of state, on a vacation, or work trip. 

The tracker also allows for Bluetooth communication. It shifts into Bluetooth mode when you’re closer in proximity to your pup to help pinpoint their exact location using lights and sound. In Bluetooth mode, you can even “ring” your dog’s collar to lead yourself to your wandering pup. This feature is a great tool to find a hidden pet. 

Tractive also offers a power-saving mode when connected to trusted Wi-Fi networks. In this mode, certain features—like live tracking—are paused to extend battery life.

Tractive Models For Dogs

Tractive sells two models for dogs. Choose between the smaller DOG 4 or the DOG XL / Adventure, which features an extended battery life and protective cover.

DOG 4

Tractive GPS Tracker For Dogs and app

View On Amazon | View On Chewy | View On Tractive

The Tractive DOG 4 comes with a rubber fastener, a clip charger, and a USB-C cable. Tractive offers three color options: brown, dark blue, and white.

The device is narrow and lightweight, allowing for regular wear. It’s suitable for puppies and dogs as small as nine pounds.

Tech Specs

  • Weight: 1.2 oz
  • Dimensions: 2.8 x 1.1 x 0.7 in
  • Suitable for dogs weighing 8.8 lbs and above
  • Up to 10 days without charging
  • IPX7 waterproof

Pricing

  • Price $49.99

DOG XL / Adventure

Tractive DOG XL / Adventure

View On Amazon | View On Tractive

Tractive created the DOG XL / Adventure for pets above 50 pounds. This tracker comes with a rubber clip mount and charging cable. You can choose between the standard for everyday use or the adventure addition, which features a strong fiberglass casing.

This model is heavier but offers extended battery life—up to one month without charging.

Tech Specs

  • Weight: 3.2 oz
  • Dimensions: 3.5 x 2.0 x 0.9 in
  • For dogs above 50 lbs
  • Up to 1 month without charging
  • IPX7 waterproof
  • Adventure edition features bite-proof fiberglass casing

Pricing

Tractive Subscription Plans

Tractive’s built-in SIM card requires a monthly subscription plan. The SIM card lets the collar connect to a cellular network, so you can receive notifications of your pet’s whereabouts on your phone.

Tractive also offers the Tractive Care plan, which protects users against loss, damage, and theft. The plan starts at $2 per month for a year.

Basic SubscriptionPremium Subscription
Monthly Cost$13/mo.$9/mo.
1 Year$8/mo. (billed annually)
2 Years$6/mo. (billed every 2 years)$7/mo. (billed every 2 years)
5 Years$5/mo. (billed every 5 years)
Regular Location Updatescheckmarkcheckmark
Unlimited LIVE Trackingcheckmarkcheckmark
Activity & Sleepcheckmarkcheckmark
Family Sharingcheckmark
Worldwide Coveragecheckmark
365-Day Location Historycheckmark
GPS Data Exportcheckmark

Tractive GPS Dog Tracker Reviews

We share our reviews of the Tractive GPS Dog tracker, including personal experiences from our doggy testers, Barley, Lily, and Georgie.

Getting Started

Tractive tracker on collar charging.
Before using Tractive you’ll need to make sure it’s fully charged.
Photo by Sadie Cornelius for Canine Journal, © Cover Story Media, Inc. 2024.

Setting up the Tractive device is easy; the app guides you through most of the process. You can also view Tractive’s quick-start guides by model on Tractive’s website.

Start by charging the device, which takes at least two hours. The LED light on the tracker will turn red while the battery is charging. The red light will turn off once the battery fully charges.

Once the device finishes charging, press the power button for three seconds to turn on the tracker. Then, download the Tractive GPS app on your smartphone via Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store. Follow the instructions in the Tractive app to activate your tracker. 

For the tracker to start working, you’ll need an active subscription plan. You can enter the prepaid activation code if you purchased a plan when buying the tracker. Otherwise, you can purchase a plan during device set-up.

Once you’ve activated your account, you can fine-tune your pet’s profile to include their name, breed, birth date, height, weight, and gender. You can also set up virtual fences to receive notifications when your pup leaves or enters a particular geographic area.

Is The Tractive GPS Dog Tracker Good?

Tractive is a global leader in the pet tracking market, and our team agrees. We chose Tractive as our best GPS dog collar and our value choice for the best smart dog collar and dog activity monitor.

Keep in mind that the Tractive GPS tracker may not work for everyone. The Tractive collar won’t work properly if you are in a remote location with a poor cellular connection. A radio frequency tracker or an alternative GPS tracker that doesn’t rely on a cell connection would be a better option.

Our Personal Experience With Tractive

Tactive app screenshots.
An idea of what you can expect from the Tractive app and what stats and info you can track.
Photo by Sadie Cornelius for Canine Journal, © Cover Story Media, Inc. 2024.

Our dog has been using Tractive for years, and we love it! The tracker fits on his harness and lasts for several weeks without a recharge. I get notified (on my Apple watch) when he leaves his “Safe Zone” when on walks and then returns back home. That way, I know if/when my husband is walking him and I’m not home. We don’t use the heatmap or stats that often, but I should really utilize that data more to stay motivated on walks. I’m more concerned about tracking his location via GPS.

Sadie Cornelius, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Parent & Creative And Content Marketing For Canine Journal

Our dogs love to hike with us, and Tractive is great at telling us where and how many minutes our dogs were active once we connected to a cell signal or WiFi. It even shows their whereabouts visually on a detailed map. If our dog got lost in a populated area that was well served by cell service, this product would be a tremendous help! However, the GPS wouldn’t connect to the app when we didn’t have a cell signal during our mountain hikes, so the tool would prove unhelpful if they got lost during our off-the-grid adventures. And, while it tracks the minutes of activity, the data is less detailed than with traditional activity trackers.

Michelle Schenker, Rescue Dog Parent, Licensed Insurance Professional & Canine Journal Writer

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some questions our team frequently gets asked about the Tractive GPS tracker for dogs. Don’t see yours? Ask us in the comments.

How Far Away Does Tractive Work?

The tracker’s range is unlimited as long as there is an available cellular network. Tractive devices currently work in 150+ countries. 

Does Tractive Work Without A Subscription?

The Tractive has a built-in SIM card that uses mobile networks to send you your pet’s location information. You must pay a subscription to use this service. Tractive’s Bluetooth features may work without a subscription, but you won’t be able to access your dog’s GPS location.

How Do You Cancel A Tractive Subscription?

Tractive offers a money-back guarantee within 30 days of purchasing your subscription. To cancel your subscription, visit my.tractive.com and log in to your account. From there, select Trackers & Subscription Plans. Pick your tracker, select Subscription Plan, and then click Cancel Subscription Plan.

Gear For Traveling With Your Dog

Do you travel with your doggo? A tracking device like Tractive ensures you know where your dog is at all times. We have plenty of other recommendations for pet travel gear, including portable water bottles and crates. Make sure to also check out our tips for flying and vacationing with your pup.

Why Trust Canine Journal?

Tara is part of the Canine Journal team, which has over a decade of experience researching, testing, and writing about anything and everything dog-related. Most of our team members are lifelong dog owners and can provide personal insights on each topic we cover. For this article, Tara spent 2+ hours researching Tractive tracking devices and used personal feedback from other members of the Canine Journal team.

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.

Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Scroll to Top