Backpacking with Dogs
Whistle Go Explore GPS Tracker

Whistle Go Explore GPS Tracker

I’m very lucky, most days I do not need a GPS tracker on my dog. But when you go hiking with a dog, it’s always good to have the security of a GPS tracker.  My dog is very obedient about staying on property thanks to an early training with a wireless fence.  Now he doesn’t need the actual collar and the fence has been deactivated.  But also, my dog has a great recall. But no dog is perfect at recall and going hiking with a dog can result in unexpected situations and encounters and that’s where a GPS tracker comes in handy.

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First off, no GPS tracker is perfect.  Unless you go with a higher end hunting tracker, most require cellular service to transmit GPS locations to the server and ultimately to the app.  So, while you are hiking with a dog you may lose trackability depending on the terrain. But the good news is that if your dog does get lost you will get a signal once they come into an area with cellular service. 

The Whistle Go Explore GPS tracker will cost you about $120-140, so its not a cheap purchase but better than a $400-900 hunting tracking collar.  With the Whistle Go Explore, you will also have a monthly subscription which can cost between $7-10 depending on the service and duration that you choose.

If you are like me, hiking is a great hobby, but I am not thru hiking for months straight, so the tracking isn’t necessary most of the time.  It’s nice that the Whistle Go Explore comes with some additional features beyond the tracking that I like to use.

Using the Whistle Go Explore

There are two major components to the Whistle Go Explore.  First is the tracking device that attaches to your dog’s collar.  It comes with a rubber strap and a self-sticking strap for attaching to any dog collar.  Whistle also sells collars with a built-in attachment for the device.  An important feature for me is that the tracker is waterproof to 1 meter because my golden retriever loves to go swimming. The device also includes a light with 3 different modes for visibility at night. However, I would still recommend a separate dedicated light when camping with a dog.

The second component to the system is the app.  The app is available for both IOS and Android operating systems.  It allows you to control the collar device, set tracking options, monitor the statistics of your dog’s activities, and view a history of trips.

Here is a great field demo video of the Whistle Go Explore at work.

The Whistle Go Explore App

The app is the key to your interactions with the tracker.  To start, you define a “home base” in the app by setting the boundaries of your property. Anytime the tracker leaves this area you will receive a notification and the device will begin tracking your dog.

In addition to notifications about leaving home, the app allows you to see your dog’s activity.  This includes their calories, distance, and behaviors.  These behaviors are licking, scratching, and sleeping.  Kind of like my Garmin. 

Inside the app you set your dog’s breed, age, and weight and you will get recommended activity levels. You will get notifications as your dog meets their daily goals. Again, just like my Garmin.

The App will also allow you to set reminders, like when to re-apply flea and tick preventative. Another feature, which I have not had to use, is the ability to call a Vet on demand. 

Accuracy of the GPS Tracking

The accuracy of the tracker is amazing.  Because it uses the 4G AT&T network the GPS updates are reliable, and the app shows the updates quickly.  The device includes a “tracking mode” which allows the updated location to show every 15 seconds!  When not in tracking mode, the device can be configured to send updates only every 30 minutes to help prolong the battery life.

Battery Life of the Whistle Go Explore

Whistle claims to have the battery last up to 20 days.  I haven’t heard of anyone getting a full 20 days, but I suspect it has a lot to do with how you are using the device.  When you are home, the device will use WIFI which will save some battery.  If you are going to into tracking mode while hiking with a dog and have activity tracking enabled, you will get about 10-12 days between charging which is still very good. 

The device has a quick detach from the collar and charges via a micro-USB port on the back of the device. I found it very helpful that the app has a notification to tell you when the battery is getting low.

Final Recommendation

If you are looking for GPS tracking when hiking with your dog then the Whistle Go Explore is a great option. There are more expensive GPS trackers from Garmin and Dogtra that do not rely on the cellular network, but their battery life is a limiting factor to any lengthy hike or overnight camping making them impractical for camping with a dog.  The Whistle Go Explore provides a lot of other great features that make the purchase useful even when you are not on the trail with your dog.

Watch the product videos and check availability here.

Also if you don’t already have an Amazon Prime subscription, here is a link for a 30 day free trial of Amazon Prime.