Aside from properly training your dog to use his new fence, creating a solid map with plenty of room for your dog to roam is important if you want your dog to have a successful experience with his new SpotOn System. Making a map is incredibly easy but if it is not a good map, you and your pup will be stressed outdoors.
As the SpotOn System is enabled by GPS/satellite navigation systems, which can experience slight shifts in accuracy of a few feet (you may have noticed that when using GPS maps while driving, your position is slightly to the side of the road—this is an example of a shift). You need to make sure your map will be both functional and safe for your dog so we recommend incorporating a 15-foot buffer zone into every map to account for a potential variation.
How to turn your knowledge of GPS into a great map? Follow these eight tips.
1. Understand the boundary tones and static correction
The SpotOn System offers a series of two audible tones before issuing static correction. At about three meters from the boundary your dog will hear the alert tone. At about 1.5 meters your dog will hear the warning tone. The best way to describe SpotOn’s two tones is one is saying “Come here!” in a light/friendly tone and the other one is commanding “Get over here!” in a stricter tone. At the boundary, if it is turned on, the dog will receive a static correction and you will receive a notification that your pup has left containment. If he chooses to turn around and come back, he will not receive a static correction for returning home. When you create your map, we recommend proofing the map by approaching the perimeter with the collar in hand so you have a good idea of where your pup is hearing the alert and warning tones.
2. Planning makes perfect
Before walking your map, plan out the area you want to use. The SpotOn System works anywhere that there is a strong GPS signal, which is much of the earth's surface so we have you covered there (unless you live on the North or South Pole). Not sure if it is going to work? SpotOn is happy to help—give us a call or send us a Google Map image and we can provide guidance on the best way to situate a map on your property. Once your plan is in place, arrange the included flags around the area to help guide you as you walk your map.
3. Make sure you have ample space
We recommend making a map that provides the dog at least 80-feet to roam at its narrowest location when mapping around home or structure. This includes giving your dog enough room to roam around obstacles or structures. For instance, if your map’s boundary is too close to the side of your house or deck, the dog may not have enough room to play without constantly hearing tones or in the event you experience a slight GPS shift, receiving a static correction.
4. Do not start or end too close to buildings
Never begin or end a boundary within 15 feet of the side of a home or other tall structure (such as a wall). Remember that GPS shift we talked about? If one of these slight GPS variations occur, the GPS signal could essentially lose its “peripheral vision.” A perimeter that starts too close to a structure could wind up cutting your dog off from a portion of your yard or other containment area.
5. Do not walk too close to danger areas
Create your virtual smart fence at least 15 feet away from hazardous areas such as streets, cranky neighbors, or off-limits flower/vegetable gardens to create a buffer zone between the intended boundary and the off-limits area. This is also to account for any slight shifts in the boundary we already talked about. Setting your perimeter at least 15 feet away from hazard areas ensures that, in the event of the occasional shift, your dog will remain contained in a safe area.
6. Take advantage of the pause feature
Use the collar’s “Pause” feature to easily cross over barriers like ponds or bushes. Simply press the “Pause” button while walking your perimeter, then press “Resume” when the terrain allows you to continue your path. SpotOn will automatically “snap” a straight line between the two points. This is also useful when your virtual smart fence needs to pass through a building (like your house). Read more about the pause feature here.
7. You can “cheat” a little here and there
Maybe you have the opposite of a cranky neighbor and a smaller space for your dog to play. With your neighbor’s permission, walk your perimeter up to 15 feet into your neighbor’s property so your dog hears the tone at the very edge of your property. Or... Does your dog have a doggie BFF next door? Make a map of both yards so the dogs can have twice the space to play (if you and your neighbor both have SpotOn Systems, you can create and share maps between the two collars).
8. Do not close the loop
When creating your map be sure to mark your starting point with either a flag or landmark. When you are getting close to your starting point, select “End” to snap a line to your starting point to “close” your map. You must have a closed map to have a functional map so this is extremely important. When closing your map you can get close to your starting point but it is not a requirement. You can hit “end” at any time to snap a straight line to your starting point and close your map—even if you are a few miles away from the starting point!
When you are done creating your map, proof it. Always test boundaries by walking your map or, if tracking is activated, open up the SpotOn app to ensure the map is correct before setting your dog free to roam. If you follow these tips, you should have no problem creating a map that both you and your pup will enjoy and if you have any questions, the SpotOn team is here to help!