How to Take Your SpotOn GPS Fence on Vacation


Image by @sarah_michelle_lawrence

One of the main advantages we hear of the SpotOn System is its portability so you can let your dog run freely no matter where you are going. However, we have also heard that people are wary the first time they try to use the system somewhere new, because they assume their dog only gets it for their primary location – usually the backyard. Since many of you plan to travel with your dogs this holiday season, we have put together these tips to ensure that you can seamlessly transition your dog from your backyard to your holiday destination.

Your dog is trained to the tones, not your yard.

Many people worry that their dog has figured out their backyard boundaries, but won’t be able to figure out new boundaries at a new location. This just isn’t true.

If you want to test it, take your dog outside, connect via Bluetooth to the collar. Now take your dog towards a normally safe area and issue the tones. What does your dog do? Turns back, right? It’s the tones that have trained your dog to turn around. This will work no matter where you go.

If your dog did not turn around, then it’s time to go back and review the initial training video and start training to the tones. Target training combined with tones is great for that. For a refresher, view this video.




It might have been some time since you set up a new containment area, so review the steps before you arrive and are distracted by holiday preparations. Remember these key points for successful fence creation:

  1. SpotOn works best for properties with ½ acre or more, otherwise your dog will constantly be receiving warning tones and won’t have much space to play

  2. Fences should be 80’ wide at their narrowest points

  3. Be sure that you create a buffer of at least 15’ from hazards like a road, railroad track, or other danger. GPS shift is a common occurrence and usually is only 3-10’ so a 15’ buffer should be just fine.

  4. SpotOn is set with Forest Mode enabled to ensure the best possible GPS reliability under trees, brush, or bushes. So if your holiday destination is heavily forested you'll be all set. If however your fence boundary is less than 10 feet from the house, you may want to turn Forest Mode off (in the app under 'Collar Settings'). Think of Forest Mode as outdoor only mode; when Forest Mode is on, always take the collar off your dog when coming indoors to avoid the risk of your dog receiving a false correction. 

  5. Don’t forget the Pause feature which enables you to more easily create large fences. Instead of walking the entire perimeter, you can start by creating a fence and then hit Pause. You can then walk, drive or ATV to another point and then hit Resume. The system will snap a line creating a boundary. Learn more about the Pause feature with this blog or watch the video.

  6. You can also make an instant, circular fence, which can be set as small as 150 feet wide and up to 950 feet wide. And since this is a temporary boundary, it won't take up any of your 10 saved slots for custom fences. But your pup will need a boundary test & refresher when using the circle fence for the first time, as it will be a little different for them. But they should adjust easily as again, they are trained to the tones and other system feedback (vibration and/or static correction). 

Keys to Success – Once You Arrive

  1. Set up your fence keeping in mind the tips above. You can note landmarks that will help you remember the boundary. Your dog does not need the landmarks as will be more reliant on the tones. 

  2. Begin with your dog on a leash and walk the boundaries, stepping into the alert tone and encouraging your dog to turn back. Give him a ‘Yes’ and a treat to reward the right (turn back) behavior.

  3. Once you feel like your dog knows there are boundaries you can let him off leash or put him on a long 10’ leash and let him wander around on his own. Observe as he nears the boundaries whether he turns around.

  4. Proof the boundary by tempting your dog with a high value distraction such as having a person he likes walk outside of his boundaries. Note if your pup hears the tones and turns around and be sure to praise or treat.


 Need more help? Watch our making a fence video before taking SpotOn with you.

Is your pup ready to travel? Read our Dog Travel Tips to get him or her ready.

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