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Alex Hatton reviews a dog tracking collar and hand-held device from Garmin - the K 5X dog device and the Alpha 200i K.
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Last year my Large Munsterlander, Georgie, passed her 20-hour tracking test and was added to the UKDTR callout register. I had not even thought about tracking collars before I passed. She knows my ground well and the usual parking spots, so she would likely never get lost, but there is now a real opportunity of being asked to assist others on ground neither of us were familiar with, so we took the plunge and researched what was out there on the market.
I use Garmin watches to track my sports, as well as at work, and it seems so do all the UKDTR tracking teams. The Garmin K 5 collar had recently been upgraded to the K 5X, boasting a much-improved battery and the new Alpha 200i K was apparently the perfect device to track the dog with. As it boasted many more features than simply tracking her, I was keen to find out more.
It is definitely worth checking the contents on the list are all there when unboxing, as it was missing a long-range antennae and no UK adaptors for the plugs. This was soon rectified by Garmin after a bit of nudging. Out the box, the collar also lost its charge over the period of two weeks even when off and unused, which again Garmin rectified by issuing a new device, eventually, but once we had sorted these teething issues, we were off!
Setup was easy and I downloaded the Garmin Express app to update the software and register my device. By connecting the Alpha handheld unit to my wifi I was quickly able to download aerial imagery of my own stalking ground, free of charge, which is so handy when tracking with the dogs, as it shows up the different habitats not always viewable on the background mapping.
The training functions can only be described as superb - I was able to set up a tone and vibrate function, which I can operate at the touch of a button. I set to work quickly, training her to come back to me if she heard the tone, and to change direction if she feels it vibrate. The third button allows me to turn the collar’s bright forward-facing LED light on, with various options such as flashing, strobe or constant, which is very handy if I am looking for her or she is near a road as it can be seen from 90m away.
I set some boundaries on the edge of my stalking and training grounds, so if she is tracking and goes near it sends me a notification to inform me she is nearing an unsafe area. The handheld unit can also notify me if she is on point, or for the American market, if she has ‘treed’ something; presumably it is sensing the position of her head at that particular point?
This setup gives me piece of mind to know where my dog is at all times. The detection range is far more than I should ever need, at 14.5km, as I hope to never be that far from my her, but this does give added peace of mind. The high price of the complete setup is nothing compared to the value of my dog and the kit itself seems faultless so far.
Garmin K 5X dog device: £299.99
Garmin Alpha 200i K: £699.99
Garmin dog tracking collars
Alex Hatton reviews the Donington Deer Management swivel deer hoist - a heavy-duty deer hoist that swivels the animal into the back of a truck.
Mark Camoccio reviews the Konuspro F-30 4-16 x 52 FFP scope, which comes in at the bargain price of £360!
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