Garmin Astro: GPS Tracking System w/ Multiple Dog Capability ($530)
  • ceziegcezieg
    Posts: 1050
    I was looking into tracking systems as I plan on having both Ren and the future Hokkaido pup working off-leash while training for hunting/tracking. This ones pretty pricey, but the convenience is well worth it if used often + in the wilderness. Has anyone had any experience with this system?

    http://sites.garmin.com/astro/
    Ren, Kai Ken (f, intact) 02-01-2012
    Kirin, Alaskan Noble Companion Dog (f, intact) 05-04-2015
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 3006
    Not sure never used this yet. I might get one for Saya eventually to see how well it does.

    I'm sure the two hunters on this forum can help if not try the laika board? They have probably more experiences with gps collars.

    http://www.laikaforum.org/forum/
    Added this to my post:

    @cezieg

    I can't believe I forgot, but @jikjak Ghost has a gps so I'm sure he can help fill you in on info on the collar too.

    I love Ghost pics such nice looking shikoku.
    http://www.nihonken.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/comment/169444#Comment_169444
    Photobucket
    Nicole, 7year old Bella(Boxer), and 7year old Saya(Shiba inu)
    Post edited by Saya at 2013-12-16 12:04:24
  • TheWalrusTheWalrus
    Posts: 1559
    I have used this system. It's great. If you are off leash in the wilderness with your dog, this is an invaluable tool. It lessens the learning curve A LOT for novice hunters who are trying to keep track of, and understand what their dogs are doing.
    Plus the peace of mind you get in knowing where your dog is at, is wonderful.
  • LosechLosech
    Posts: 2081
    Haven't needed one yet and have not been able to justify dropping that much on a tracking system. But with how herp-derp Katana is about everything I might need one sooner than I'd like.
    image
  • TychoTycho
    Posts: 7
    These things look great. There is a higher model too called the Alpha. Apparently it is supposed to help training recall and has a 'correction' feature. I wonder how well these things work. Very interesting.
  • ceziegcezieg
    Posts: 1050
    Good to hear @TheWalrus! For the price, I would hope that it's a great system lol. It'll definitely be a good comfort + tool for being a novice. It'll be interesting to see the habits of the dogs as they roam.

    Interesting @Tycho. I wonder if that correction feature is a shock. I'm not about the shocks, but I could see it being useful for some dogs.
    Ren, Kai Ken (f, intact) 02-01-2012
    Kirin, Alaskan Noble Companion Dog (f, intact) 05-04-2015
  • souggysouggy
    Posts: 247
    I have an Astro. No Alpha, only because I think e-collars mask bad temperament and compensate for lack of trainability. There is a reason why European imports, even of the same breed, tend to be more biddable.... (Most European countries ban e-collars or other corrective devices.)

    I don't use it much. When I started, I used it a lot. However, when I realized there was an over-dependency issue and the dog is too busy barking-- by the time I figured out the coordinate, the bird has already flown off.

    So, I don't really use it anymore. I just let my internal compass do the task of locating the bark.
    Blog: Prick-Eared - now featuring primitive dogs
    Post edited by souggy at 2013-12-30 05:15:36
  • shishiinushishiinu
    Posts: 2337
    I also have used the Garmin astro GPS system and its hands down the best on the market. Unfortunately I cant use it anymore in my state so I now use a radio frequency tracking system which isn't as good but gets the job done. The Alpha is a step up from the astro as it has a improved GPS signal and a ecollar incorporated into the system.

    Another good product that recently came on the market is the Sportdog brand GPS system. The info on the screen seems to be a bit more less confusing then the Garmin and might be a little better for the beginner but has a 7mile range capability versus a 12 mile range like the Garmin (for most NK related hunting I don't think you'll need anything over 5 miles). The Sportdog tek also has a ecollar in the system and is a little cheaper then the Alpha.

    As a side note these systems all are some serious cash and its great to have if you are a serious hunter with ranging hunting dogs. I see people buy them for dogs that only range out less then 200 yards and for that IMHO it would be more cost effective to get a much more simple radio frequency system that's lighter and simple to use (you can get a two collar system for about $300).
    Gen, Ami, Kaylynn, Trinity, Yusuke......Riki, Hana, Sammi, Taro, and the newest addition Koyuki.
    Post edited by shishiinu at 2013-12-30 14:50:21
  • CaliaCalia
    Posts: 3975

    I also have used the Garmin astro GPS system and its hands down the best on the market. Unfortunately I cant use it anymore in my state so I now use a radio frequency tracking system which isn't as good but gets the job done.


    @shishiinu - why can't you use it anymore?
    image
  • shishiinushishiinu
    Posts: 2337
    Supposedly it make it too easy for dog hunters to harvest game... What can I say that's California for ya.
    Gen, Ami, Kaylynn, Trinity, Yusuke......Riki, Hana, Sammi, Taro, and the newest addition Koyuki.
  • jikjakjikjak
    Posts: 431
    sorry for the late reply, i just saw this thread now and i havent been browsing the forums much lately as ive been doing a lot of hunting and travelling.

    i use the garmin alpha with ghost and it works great, i never leave home without it. i can off leash him anywhere now, especially when im out in the woods hunting, wheeling or hiking. the electronic collar worked wonders with Ghost, i rarely have to use it but its very handy if his prey drive kicks in and i have to call him off an animal. he responds quickly and comes right back even if hes in the middle of a chase. hes run after deer and was out sight at over 500 yards and i was able to quickly call him back to me. it was neat watching the screen and seeing the distance get shorter and shorter as he came back to me.

    the tracking works great and i always know how far away he is and which direction he went, i can also look on the map and see exactly where he is. the device can also track up to 20 dogs/alpha units so if you are with someone else that has the system, you can see where your friend is and also send preset messages back and forth to each other. if you have more than one dog, you just have to purchase extra collars and they can be controlled and tracked by a single alpha handheld.

    i would have to say that the alpha is one of the best purchases ive ever made, my only regret is not buying it sooner. its allowed ghost and i to have a much better time outdoors. before getting the alpha i spent a lot of time training ghost and he listens well but his prey drive and reactiveness to other dogs is quite strong and thats where i would lose control over him. now that i have the alpha i dont have to worry much at all and its allowed us to have a lot of fun together without having that cumbersome leash attached to each of us. im definitely going to buy another collar for my next dog as well. (most likely a WSL)

  • TychoTycho
    Posts: 7
    @jikjak Do you use the Alpha to help with recall, or just your own training? How does it work?
  • jikjakjikjak
    Posts: 431
    ghost was already trained before i had the alpha so i basically used it to reinforce a command. his training before the alpha went well but i could still lose control of him if he was strongly stimulated by something else. i also had a bit of difficulty with immediate recall if he was far away from me. now its like i have him on an invisible leash, the most important thing for me was recall when he was super distracted by another dog or animal or when he was very far away. he could be chasing a rabbit and i can just call him back to me mid chase. the gps aspect is excellent for knowing exactly where he is at all times, especially in the woods.

    heres a good review on the unit and it shows how it works.

    http://www.gundogsupply.com/garmin-alpha-review.html
  • shishiinushishiinu
    Posts: 2337
    Just a quick note, the Garmin tracking system is used primarily to locate and to keep tabs on working dogs. Its not really intended to be used as a training tool (the Alpha and the sportdog brand has a ecollar). IMHO if one wants a pet locater/tracker, the lighter weight GPS units like the TAGG system would be better suited. Its much cheaper and lot easier to place on a pet.

    For recall work the garmin will do absolutely nothing for you other then to let you know where your dog is located. Recall work is done through spending time off leash with a pup. In my experience the less time a NK pup stays on a leash (mostly kishu kens) the better recall the pup will have as it grows. The biggest part is to build a puppies trust for you so that it doesn't have to feel like returning will equal confinement.

    I'm sure theres a bunch of other way but this has worked for me for my hunting kishus I have had so far.
    Gen, Ami, Kaylynn, Trinity, Yusuke......Riki, Hana, Sammi, Taro, and the newest addition Koyuki.
    Post edited by shishiinu at 2014-01-03 12:18:08
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 3006
    Good info. I plan to get a GPS type collar like Garmin I don't have fancy phone so tagg might be bit hard and I don't mind spending a bit on the collar and stuff..

    shishiinu has good advice. I have a shiba inu though I don't recommend it for shiba breed as pretty much 98% of them are not off leash kind of dogs.

    I did usual leash work get her used to it and stuff, but I had freedom time where she was on a very light long leash so she could roam some, but I had piece of mind in case.

    I eventually worked on off leash walks in field and in yard, eventually working in woods where there is more distraction.

    Saya does well off leash in the woods and she has good prey drive on her, but she has recalled off rabbits, squirrels and deer. I don't mind her chasing rabbits and treeing squirrels as most times she doesn't get the rabbit and squirrel gets to tree.. Coarse deer and livestock is two things I don't let her chase..

    I work with her with leave it training. It's gone well. It could be just I was lucky with Saya as shiba aren't known for off leashing.

    I always use recall as a positive thing I never call her to come for things she finds negative into like cleaning ears, getting nails trimmed etc. I used it on meal time, if I have a new toy for her, yummy treat or found something interesting like mouse nest, mole hill, or animal track.. She finds those things fun to sniff animal tracks so I try make myself fun.. I call to come there might be a mole hill to dig at or rabbit track..

    Hide and seek is fun game for dog to play. Make it easy at first and increase it as the dog gets the idea of finding you when you call for her/him. I don't know best way to play it.. I usually tell the dogs to stay then go hide behind tree, shed, or in woods and then call for the dogs.

    At first I had to have someone else hold onto them, but once their stay command got good and solid I did it that way. I started out easy where the hiding place was close and they saw me hide.

    They got yummy treat once they found me.

    @Tycho this thread on this forum might be useful.
    http://www.traildogforum.org/forum/index.php?p=/discussion/56/off-leash-puppy-when-to-transition-from-long-line#Item_10

    I see this recomended for recall training I haven't gotten it myself yet so not sure.
    http://www.dogwise.com/ItemDetails.cfm?ID=dtb810p
    Photobucket
    Nicole, 7year old Bella(Boxer), and 7year old Saya(Shiba inu)

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