Garmin Reveals High-Tech Dog Collar: Even Fido Needs GPS

Garmin may not be the be-all, end-all leader in the consumer PND market any longer -- particularly now that most smartphones are more than capable of navigating motorists -- but it's still cranking out some clever gear. The company has just introduced an updated Astro GPS Dog Collar, the DC 50. Just so we're clear: yes, this is a high-tech dog collar, and yes, it really exists.

The DC 50's main housing sits below the dog's neck while a low-profile, high-sensitivity GPS antenna is now positioned atop the dog's neck, providing a clearer view of satellites. In addition to tracking GPS satellites, the DC 50 can also utilize the GLONASS system. When using GLONASS satellites, acquisition time is (on average) approximately 20 percent faster than using GPS. And when using both GPS and GLONASS together, the receiver has the ability to lock on to 24 more satellites than when using GPS alone. In practical terms, that means sporting dog owners will spend less time waiting for the collar to acquire satellites before the hunt, and the collar will better maintain its location even in heavy cover and deep canyons during the hunt.

The newly redesigned 22.5-inch long VHF antenna is made of braided steel that's built to take any punishment that hard-charging dogs can deliver. Hunters can track their dogs up to nine miles in flat, unobstructed ground as often as every five seconds. A shorter 18.5-inch antenna is also included.

The battery life of the DC 50 has improved over previous generations, too. At a five second update rate, the DC 50 will get approximately 26 hours of battery life when fully charged. By slowing the update rate down to once every two minutes, the DC 50 collar can get up to 54 hours of use. As a safety feature, the DC 50 also has a selectable Dog Rescue mode, which automatically switches the DC 50 to a two minute update rate when the battery is less than 25 percent charged – making it easier to recover a lost dog.

For houndsmen, the DC 50 also features built-in Bark Detection, which alerts a hunter when their dog is barking frequently, even out of earshot. Users can customize the Bark Detection feature to adjust the frequency of barking and the manner in which the user is notified (visual, tone, vibration, or a combination of each).

Purchased alone, the DC 50 has a minimum retail price of $229.99, and the DC 50 bundled with the Astro 320 system has an MRP of $599.99. Both are expected to be available in July. Pretty wild, no?

Tags:  GPS, garmin, Dog, collar