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Everything is Smart these days. Near everything from your home can be controlled by your phone, from door bells, TVs, keys, thermostats, lights, alarms, to refrigerators and coffee makers! But there remains one household fixture that remains dumb. The lowly pet dog.
Since before I brought the Blooberoni home, I’ve looked into turning her into a Bluetooth beacon of some sort. (Because how cool would it be to get phone alerts that a cute dog is walking by? I’m just trying think of ways to make the world a better place, y’all.)
I looked into Tile to use as a tracker but around this time last year, they didn’t have a product that was waterproof or had the range I wanted. Other kinds of GPS tracks or walkie-talkie devices are bulky, expensive and/or require subscription fees. All I want to be able to do is recall my dog when she’s far away from me. Also, tracking features would be a bonus incase she decided to take a little walk around the neighbourhood. I didn’t need a global tracking system. Just one with a reasonable range. Also, it’s nice to call her into the house without having to yell out the window or ring the cowbell.
Tile recently came out with their Pro Series. They are (supposedly) extra durable, waterproof, have extended range and adjustable volume (it’s really just two settings: loud and more loud). So I got a Tile Sport/Style and attached it to Bloo’s collar. It has a range of 200 ft and is waterproof (it says water-resistant and waterproof alternatingly in the packaging). The battery is supposed to last a year, and then when it runs out, you send it back to Tile to recycle and you can purchase a new one at a discounted price.
The Tile Sport/Style is currently on sale on Amazon for $24.99 which is a screaming deal because it’s listed for $35 on the Tile website.
It works using Bluetooth technology.
I went with Tile over other trackers because of the sheer number of users. The large network is really important because if your Tile gets lost, it becomes a little beacon. And if anyone who has the app on their phone walks by, that location data is sent anonymously to the app and will tell you where your Tile was last seen. GPS trackers are continuously talking to the satellites up in space, whereas the Tile’s bluetooth checks in with smartphones as they pass by.
The main reason I’m writing this post is to get more dog owners to get Tile on their phone and dog. Let’s expand the Tile Dogs network! Who knows? Your phone’s location data could be the one that helps you track down a lost dog. I take Bloo to some pretty big dog parks and she could definitely go on a little doggy adventure on her own and it would take me hours to find her. (She’s usually pretty good though).
I’m not the only one who has considered using Tile on their pets. See this heartwarming story from Tile’s website.
Here is how I’ve attached it to Bloo’s collar.
I hate the clinking sound of tags, so her regular tag is an NFC tag with QR code. NFC (near-field communication) is that contact-less technology that let’s you tap your credit card or your phone at the terminal when you pay. When you scan it with your phone, you get all her details like, my phone number, the vet’s number, her rabies vaccination number, and pet registration. And if it’s scanned, I get an email alert that her tag was scanned and where it was scanned.
I purposely didn’t include her name on her collar so that if anyone wanted to find out her name they HAVE to scan the tag. I’m super paranoid that she’s going to get stolen. Can you tell?
Training Bloo to come when I ring her Tile
The first time I rang her Tile, Bloo was super confused about what
the sound was. It was really funny. She was craning her neck to get a better look.
1. Distract with a high-value treat the first time.
I started making the association with the jingle with a treat she’s goes crazy for. If your dog is a little more timid, I would start with the Tile not attached to the dog, where they can see it and give them a treat when it makes a sound.
2. Recall while ringing
The next thing I did was start ringing the Tile from the other side of the room and calling Bloo over with a “come” to collect the treats in my hand. Once she finished chomping the treats I turned the little jingle off.
3. Recall while ringing outdoors
I repeated steps 1 and 2 outside where there are more distractions. I started giving her treats while she was close. And then I tried recalling her from a little further away.
4. Random recalls and treats
Throughout the day, I just kept trying the recall exercise inside and outside. I want her to associate the ring with coming to find me and getting lots of yummy treats.
And that’s it. It’s just reinforcement and making that jingle THE MOST EXCITING THING EVER.
Let me know what you guys think! Would you put a Tile on your dog?
Is Bluetooth safe? Probably. I mean, we all sleep with our smart phones…so I’m like whatever. My dog can sleep with a Tile.