Switching from Halo Collar® to SpotOn Fence: Niko & Obi's Story


Meet Niko & Obi from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

These two handsome boys are French Brittanies, a very active hunting breed. True to their breed, they are both very energetic dogs who need to be kept busy! So while owner TK is only a casual hunting enthusiast, he takes them out regularly to let them use their natural hunting instincts.

The naming tradition for this breed is to designate a letter of the alphabet to each year, to indicate the age of the dog. To honor that tradition, they needed names that start with ‘N’ (2017) and ‘O’ (2018). So while Niko was just a good name inspired by their breeder, Obi was an obvious choice as huge Star Wars fans!

Niko is very focused and wary of people he doesn’t know. He is also somewhat of a velcro dog, so TK spends half of his day tripping over him. He loves the water, and is such a water dog that it's hard to keep him out of the water.

Obi is very chill and loves everything and everyone — except for bald eagles. They live up in the bluffs and eagles are everywhere! So for Obi, the constant eagles are a constant threat, engaging his natural prey drive. According to owner TK, Obi is probably the best all around dog he has ever owned (and that’s a long list!).

Why did TK want a GPS Fence?

Having recently moved to a new house with about 4 acres, including some tricky terrain, TK wanted a more flexible and portable solution than their previous buried wire fence. He wanted to take advantage of the two undeveloped lots on both sides of his house, to give the dogs more room to roam. Between the cost, the effort, and most importantly the lack of flexibility of buried wire, he was hesitant, and instead started researching GPS fences, knowing that a GPS system would allow him to change the boundary as the undeveloped land situation evolved. 

Right now they have nearly 8 acres, but in the future that will likely get reduced to 4 acres, so he likes the ability to simply redraw the fence when needed. The ability to do fences in other locations was also nice, but I think the features like notifications and tracking were what really pushed me forward.

‘The SpotOn collar has been so great because we have prairie lots on both sides and until they are developed the dogs are able to have full freedom to explore over 10 acres. They are mousers so it keeps ‘em busy! Without the GPS system they would have only 2 acres and it is all lawn. We also live just off the Mississippi River and the SpotOn lets us set up temporary boundaries around the various islands when boating.’ - TK, Owner

Why TK initially chose Halo®,  and what made him switch to SpotOn.

Since TK initially chose the Halo Collar instead of SpotOn, we wanted to understand why. So we had a Q&A session to find out what made him switch.

How long did you spend researching a GPS fence solution?
Probably 6 months, along with the side-by-side month of evaluating SpotOn against Halo.

Why did you originally choose Halo over SpotOn?
Cost, plain and simple. The fact that Spot On pings the satellites more often had me suspecting it would be better, but I hoped Halo would be "good enough" at half the cost.

Why did you stop using Halo and switch to SpotOn?
While the tracking was fun and the app is nice, it completely fails at its core feature: being a containment system. At least several times a week the dogs would be in the middle of my property and the Halo would suddenly jump clear across the neighborhood up to a quarter mile away. Fortunately I have trained my dogs on tone only, as it was causing horrible confusion and they quickly became hesitant to wear the collars. I would never know when it would happen. It also took a very long time to lock on to the satellites each time I took it off the charger. Often I would need to go outside and stand there before even putting the collar on the dogs.

It was completely unpredictable, unreliable, and from being in user groups it is far from isolated. Many others are dealing with the same "jump" of location. Drift is acceptable, but not hundreds of yards. I have had no issues with SpotOn as a fence. My ability to track or refresh location has been very spotty, but that is my only shortcoming with the system and isn't my primary use. No false alerts and rock solid fencing.

How SpotOn improved the GPS fence experience for TK and his dogs.

Did your dogs learn to adjust to our system quickly?
As I had trained them previously to immediately turn when they hear the tone, they took to SpotOn in seconds. To help them adjust, I put out flags as if a real wire was down. I walked with them, and as soon as the tone warning happened, we ran back inside the boundary. Done. Again, I only use tone and always have done it that way and that only bolsters my confidence in GPS as a system, though I am confident enough in the device now I would have no problem using static correction with a more stubborn dog.

How has SpotOn changed life, for you and your dogs?
It is honestly a game changer. As someone that works remotely, it allows them the freedom to be out throughout the day and in areas of the property they would not have access to with a traditional or buried wire. It allows me to also have a second fence as needed which we will be taking advantage of this summer. The notifications and ability to check their location at a glance on my phone is the icing on the cake. It simply allows them more freedom, and me more peace of mind.

‘At the end of the day the SpotOn just does exactly what it advertises. The investment hurt but the freedom it has given the dogs while giving us the peace of mind is really hard to put a price on.’

The move to a large, tricky terrain property is what prompted TK to look for a GPS fence solution instead of his previous buried wire one. He needed the ability to easily edit fences, and make fences in other locations to accommodate their travel with the dogs. But the tracking, notifications and boundary accuracy of SpotOn are what really sold him. So now everyone is happier with SpotOn! Niko and Obi understand and respect their virtual boundaries, and they get an extra 4 acres in their fence for now, until their neighborhood gets more developed. And TK is happy he made the switch, for a more consistent and reliable experience for both him and his dogs.

Do you want to share your pup's SpotOn story? Send it here!

Author Bio:
Amy McPoland is a dog mom, dog lover and Sr. Brand Strategist at SpotOn Fence.

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