Dogtra manufactures a large variety of dog collars designed for rugged, outdoor use. Because of their size, they make a great option as a GPS collar for medium to large size dogs that like to roam free in open areas or during hunts. With over 15 different models of collars and no monthly fee, Dogtra has fine-tuned each one for various needs. In this review, we are going to check out one of their most popular GPS collars – the Pathfinder.
The Pathfinder has no monthly fee, an advertised range of about 9 miles, and is recommended for dogs 35 pounds and above. While it is advertised at 9 miles, this can lessen quite a bit depending on the terrain where you’re using it. The general rule is the flatter the land the more accurate it will be. It won’t lessen too much in hilly areas, though. Most people find that it will consistently be around 4+ miles in areas that aren’t flat. This is still a great range but is still something to take into consideration.
It has a battery life of around 3.5 hours and the GPS receiver it comes with is expandable to tracking up to 21 dogs – whoa! Let’s stop there, though. Unlike most GPS collars currently on the market, the Dogtra Pathfinder has a small receiver with an antenna on it to track your dog. At first, this may seem inconvenient. After all, who wouldn’t want the easy capability to open your phone and immediately see real-time location? It’s all in the design, though. Remember – this is a rugged device intended for outdoor use and remote locations when hunting. Cellular service in areas like this isn’t always reliable and pretty much all of the app-enabled GPS pet collars rely on the same type of data your cell phone uses. Nevertheless, there are still some cool things to view within the app.
So far, it’s the only GPS collar that we’ve reviewed that is fully waterproof. Most other GPS collars are IP67 waterproof, meaning that they are only splash-proof and cannot be fully submerged.
Even though it doesn’t use cellular data, the Pathfinder still provides live-tracking that updates in seconds and includes many popular features that other devices have like geofencing and location sharing.
The app helps with setup (described below) and also has an interactive map that uses Google Maps. It has a compass and can interact with remote training functions. Here are some extra features that the app can control:
Tone can be used to get your hunting dog’s attention.
Nick is basically a small electric stimulation to aid in training and get your dog’s attention. It has 100 different levels of intensity. This makes the Pathfinder not only a GPS collar but a “correction” collar, too. Not into this option? No worries – there’s a track only mode, too.
The coolest thing about the app is that you can cycle through all of these different settings for up to 21 different devices. If you have a couple hunting dogs, for example, and you take them both out on a hunt with a couple Pathfinder collars, you can toggle different settings independently and view their locations.
The app also has a compass that will help lead you to your pet. This is really useful when out in big open areas. Once again, you can look at the compass for each device you have set up – all from one app!
How to Set Up the Dogtra Pathfinder
You get a GPS connector, collar, charger, and splitter cable that allows you to charge both at the same time. They charge fully in about 3 hours. Once the app is downloaded, you have to pair your phone to the two Pathfinder devices. You have to hold down the power button for two seconds and once again until it starts blinking. Once it does, you press the power button on the collar (the collar must be off) for 10 seconds until you see it blinking rapidly.
To pair your phone, you must turn on your location services (it will prompt you for this) and your Bluetooth. Once you open the app, it will walk you through the rest of the process. We will go over it here, though, too. All you need to do is do the same process for the GPS receiver and, instead of clicking the collar button, you click the phone option and wait until it starts blinking. When you press “Start Pairing” on your phone, it should all connect.
The biggest downside might be the range that we discussed above. It can vary quite a bit in wooded areas. It still is accurate for several miles, though. It’s still perfect as a hiking collar. It uses a lot of battery life on your phone, too. However, that’s not unique to this device and most location-enabled apps are going to drain your battery at a faster rate. It’s probably worth buying a portable battery to bring along with you if you plan on using the collar with your phone for more than a few hours. Here’s a great one that I own that you can purchase here on Amazon.
Wrapping It Up…
We really think that this is one of the most reliable hunting dog collars on the market. Sure, it’s a bit more expensive than other GPS collars but it serves an entirely different purpose. Does your dog have to be a hunting dog to get the full benefits of the Dogtra Pathfinder? No way! With a several mile range, it could be used as a hiking collar or for people who have lots of acres and an adventurous pet. You can buy it here on Amazon. Want more? Check out our GPS collar buyer’s guide. We plan on adding this one to our GPS Hunting Collar Buyer’s guide soon, too – make sure to keep an eye out! Thanks for reading!