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Spiller

Combined tracking and training collars questions.

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Spiller

I used a training collar (a Dogtra) on my last dog and my son and I are using one now on our new dog (a Dogtra).   

 

I never invested in a GPS tracking collar for the dog as I am kinda a luddite.

 

FWIW, I purchased a GPS for my sailboat when they were very new on the market and very expensive and I never really learned how to use it to it's fullest capability. In fact with all the programming and stuff I hardly ever used it at all, I got along without it with chart and compass before hand as I always had and it was just a big waste of many for me so I got along without it even after I purchased it with the same old chart and compass and dead reckoning.  

 

Like I said I'm kinda a luddite and I never even learned how to program my VHS tape recorder so you kinda maybe get where I am coming from.

 

So that influenced me and is probably why I don't have a GPS in my car and I don't even have a smart phone. I just use a Tracphone and pay my 80 bucks a year to use it occasionally in an emergency.

 

I can say unequivocally we hardly ever use the training collar at this time other than on beep or vibrate and even then we use it to a minimally. The dog came around quite nicely to a minimal intensity level and we haven't had to use it but we do realize it is nice to have, just in case.

 

Anyway my kid is more savvy to all this stuff and we are now getting even more fully invested in training the new dog and we are wondering about a getting an Astro tracker collar since we already have the Dogtra trainer.  Is that the way to go?

 

On the other hand I can see having two collars and two handheld units being cumbersome and am wondering, since I am taking the plunge monetarily on a GPS tracker to just go ahead and purchase the Alpha so I get both a track and trainer combined in one unit?

 

Comments?

 

Thanks....

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grouse28

In my opinion The only benefit to a GPS is to keep track of a wayward dog or to find a dog on point in thick cover.

I have come to dislike bells and especially a constant beeper going in off every 7 seconds. When using the Sport Dog I use it in point beeper mode and when I locate the dog I turn it off remotely.

I have a Garmin Alpha with both trainer and GPS. Dogs are trained to return with  vibration. Seldom use the stim.

I think it is too slow, complex to use as a trainer only, especially with more than one dog. For training only I use the Sport Dog.

The GPS gives me a sense of security in the big woods with the dogs.

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Hub

Why do you figure you need to have a GPS collar?  Is it strictly because you want to be able to find the dog if it runs off, or are you getting interested in being able to use GPS to find your way around etc?  If I was a luddite that wanted a shock collar and to be able to find the dog at any distance I would get a Garmin 550 plus.  It essentially just has regular shock collar function, plus an arrow with a distance marker that points to the dog.

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OutlawTorn

I can't stand the constant noise of beepers/bells so it's not un-heard of for me to miss a point in grouse covers and tall grass/cattails while pheasant hunting.  The problem is complicated this year as I'll be running my young pup with my older dog, possibly splitting my attention in two different directions.  I also think having two devices would become very cumbersome.

 

Admittedly, I like technology so the Alpha really called out to me for all it's features - and being able to send the location data to my Garmin fenix watch.  Not only that, being able to set up a geo-fence at my house saved me from investing in an underground fence for our rural property.  Having said all this, it's not terribly complicated to use so I think even a luddite could pick up on the main features pretty quickly.

 

But, Hub brings up a good point - the Pro 550 Plus seems like a great fit for you.  If you are staunch on not wanting to have access to or learn how to use the added features on the Alpha, you can get the training features + direction/distance information in a cheaper and more simple package.  I've thought about adding the pro 550 transmitter to use with my two TT15 collars during training sessions simply for the ease of being able to switch between dogs/stim levels with physical controls rather than messing with the digital screen on the Alpha, which is it's biggest drawback.

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NECarson

I'm not exactly a luddite, but I I'm closer than most of my peers. (I'm in my mid 30s)

 

I've had, been around, and used a number of different combo units. 

 

I currently use a Pro 70 and an Astro. Simple, effective, and versatile. I have learned that I don't see any advantages to the all in one units. (550 plus might be an exception, I've never been around one.) 

 

A more limited training collar, and a more complicated GPS. 

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oldleo

I am a 550 plus guy. Lets me know where dog is. Vibrates if she is on point. She will come in to me when I use the tone function.

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WPG Gizmo

I prefer a separate unit I run a Dogtra 2000 T&B on a single dog or a 2002 T&B when I have them both out and a Astro 430 W/T5 collar on each.  My reason is if one unit goes down for some reason I still have the other operational.   I rarely need stim on the dogs they are trained to recall with the beeper and I only run the beeper on point mode so they are quite in the woods. 

 

The Astro and Fenix combo works great  I dont have to keep looking at the screen to know where the dogs are the watch tells me and when they go on point once I get close enough to hear the beeper I am good.

 

Everyone has a different way of doing things this is what works for me.

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MAArcher

I don't know if I'd own a dog if I didn't have the Alpha.   Too many roads and too little time.  Most of my covers are small.  With the Alpha I can watch the dog on the screen and know if he's getting two close to a road and not have to hack him in constantly because I'm unsure of where he is.  "To little time" means most of my hunting is in short four hour intervals, I don't want to spend it all wondering where the dog is.  

 

They are big and bulky though so I have a smaller garmin I leave on him around the house, and put the Alpha on when we're out and about.

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Jim Vander

I'm an advocate of separate collars. I view training more as conditioning than correcting. Also I have alot of years with tritroncs/garmin collars so the ability to manipulate controls is second nature I dont find that to be true with alpha controls. When Im hunting its more correction than training.  I have expectations based on training and the limitations (to my  muscle memory) for the alpha controls are good enough but not great. I have rarely needed to make a correction with alpha, the occasional recall, and undue interest in critters. 

Before I got a setter I never considered a tracking collar, my labs as flushers were never a risk to get that far out and a simple recall was enough. Once I started hunting a setter in grouse woods I made the decision to go with tracking collar. Deep in grouse woods is no place to wonder. I have never needed it to find her , though it has come in handy on some crisp cool mornings where she felt especially spry. I view it as more a safety device than anything else. 

If someone was new to it all I suspect the alpha could be a good training collar I just find the momentary and continuous settings to be limiting. 

A wise mentor told me a lab out of sight is out of control a setter out of sight is doing its job.

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Mike da Carpenter

I was in that boat last year, and couldn’t make up my mind (price was what was holding me back).  Got an email from one of the hunting dog suppliers and the Alpha was on sale.  I took the hint and ordered one, and couldn’t be any happier with the unit.  Does way more than I will ever care to learn.  Glad I waited, and ever more glad I spent the money, because if I didn’t bring my wife’s dog home, she would kill me.  HA!!

 

Plus with the Alpha you get to see neat stuff like this...

 

21AED647-8AC4-49FB-823E-28B03262A810.thumb.jpeg.9dc5ba1d9d611158d15a487ee18d5c5c.jpeg

 

8857BC0B-38F1-4B3B-86D3-3CB94C559A87.thumb.png.7f67afc779f89011042baf7b0068aa62.png

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Speaks

I use a dogtra for training and an alpha in the field. I just got it this year so limited experience yet but knowing exactly where my dog is at is worth the money to me. I was running my setter last weekend and he bolted on me. Before he turned around he was quite far away in thick cover. He has been perfect for recall for months but you never know when they will get after something. All I know is that the fear in my head was how big a PITA it will be to get him vs will I get him. If I didnt already have it I would have bought one that day. 

 

Alpha vs astro and separate training collar vs 550 pro plus...... all seem like they would work. I mainly use the alpha on compass mode so more like a 550 pp.  However when I was envisioning that dog getting farther away and possibly having to hut him off at the road I realized why I like it over the 550pp, I dont generally use the map but in that case it would have been very helpful. Alpha vs astro and separate e-collar, I would call it a wash in my book. I had planned on just adding an astro but got a deal on the alpha and like it so far. 

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OutlawTorn
12 hours ago, Mike da Carpenter said:

Plus with the Alpha you get to see neat stuff like this...

8857BC0B-38F1-4B3B-86D3-3CB94C559A87.thumb.png.7f67afc779f89011042baf7b0068aa62.png

 

Wow, did that dog cover some ground...talk about no stone un-turned.

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Mike da Carpenter
20 minutes ago, OutlawTorn said:

 

Wow, did that dog cover some ground...talk about no stone un-turned.

 

The open areas were either bare dirt, or frozen over low points with zero cover.

 

Literally blew us away how well he covered the entire area at just over 13 months old.

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OutlawTorn
17 minutes ago, Mike da Carpenter said:

 

The open areas were either bare dirt, or frozen over low points with zero cover.

 

Literally blew us away how well he covered the entire area at just over 13 months old.

 

Yah, that's great - regardless of cover.  It's like he checked every square inch. 

 

I haven't had my Alpha hunting yet (just got it this summer), but my 11yo GSP tends to put on about 6-8 miles a day at 3mph avg speed trotting around our 13 acres on his normal patrol routes.  Due to some arthritis in his feet and back, I don't think he'll ever have a performance like the one you tracked, but he's a tough old thing that doesn't care much for his comfort when birds are around.  What he lacks in energy, he makes up for in experience and now only checks areas that he thinks look birdy.  Excited to see what his tracks look like this fall.

 

I'm also starting a GSP that's 4.5 months now - he just got his collar in the mail yesterday.  I won't start training with it for another month, but he's going to wear it - should be interesting to see those tracks, too.  On a side note, I'm so sick of the check cord I can't wait to transition to collar work.  ha!

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Talon1

I use the Garmin/TT Pro 550 for training and I use the Alpha for hunting.

Personally, I would not turn a dog loose to hunt with out an Alpha.

The Alpha is not really a good collar training (IMO). It's okay to use to make corrections in the field.

I had an Astro at one time and ran both collars on my dogs, but sold the Astro and upgraded to the Alpha.

I personally like having the one receiver on the dog while hunting. 

I also like the Alpha because of the map features to be able to tell which land I am on at the moment, mark the location of the truck, UTV, etc. 

If I didn't want the technology, I would buy the Garmin/TT Pro 550 Plus. It will track a dog and let you know which direction and how far away the dog is, but it is also a good stand alone training unit that you can make quick adjustments on which is generally needed when training a dog.

 

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