Bo loves being a free-range dog, unleashed and able to explore his domain. Now, we have a virtual satellite dog fence that lets us set up a truly invisible geofence that gives him the freedom to roam in a specific area that we designate.
- 1 Bo loves being a free-range dog, unleashed and able to explore his domain. Now, we have a virtual satellite dog fence that lets us set up a truly invisible geofence that gives him the freedom to roam in a specific area that we designate.
- 2 Why did we choose the Spot On satellite dog fence?
- 3 How the SpotOn satellite dog fence collar works
- 4 The accuracy of the SpotOn virtual satellite dog fence
- 5 What happens if Bo goes over the satellite dog fence boundary?
- 6 Battery life and other features
- 7 What do you think of this Satellite Dog Fence?
- 8 Where are you RVing Next?
- 9 Explore Florida’s Atlantic Coast with our RV Adventure Guide
- 10 Looking for exciting RV trip ideas and travel suggestions?
The gadget is the Spot On Fence, and it’s a dog collar that Bo wears that instantly connects with satellites.
Before I share the details below, a video may help you understand best. We just set virtual satellite dog fences on our 10-acre Michigan property and our 5-acre Tennessee land. So before reading on, check out this video we just released that show’s the process.
Why did we choose the Spot On satellite dog fence?
We need to know where Bo is and that he is safe. We do a lot of wilderness camping. Our RV land in Tennessee and the new 10 acres we just bought in Southwestern Michigan is heavily wooded. Each property has lots of wildlife and lots of opportunities for Bo to get tangled up in briars, burs, and bramble bushes.
Plus, there are mudholes that Bo seems to have a natural affinity for.
And there are roads bordering both properties.
We thought about installing the traditional wired invisible fence. But that would have been incredibly expensive. We’re talking multi-acre parcels here that we wanted to allow Bo to access unleashed. The wired fence version would have been several thousand dollars and required lots of excavation to bury the wire. In each location.
That was not going to happen.
Now, as stated in the video, the Spot On Fence system we purchased was not cheap. It costs $1,500 (you can take $100 off if you use the promo code RVLIFESTYLE100). But since one collar can be used to set up multiple fences in multiple locations, we think it was money well spent.
How the SpotOn satellite dog fence collar works
There are two ways to set up a fence. The first, as illustrated in the video, is to simply walk the boundaries of the area you want to fence in. I did that in Michigan, walking out about a seven-acre section of the 10 acres where I wanted Bo to be able to roam freely.
It was very simple. Using the Spot On app and having the collar pointing upward, I trudged across the property. If I came to a section I didn’t want to trudge through myself, I hit pause on the app, walked around the area, and then hit resume. The app connected the last location where I was before pausing with the area where I was when I resumed, drawing a straight line.
I did this across a thickly wooded area and also across a small lake at the rear of the property. Bo didn’t care about the thicket, and I wanted him to be able to wade in the lake a bit.
There was one concern: I was worried about whether the trees on our property would block the collar’s satellite connection. So I activated a feature on the app called forest mode. It kept the collar connected perfectly, even under a tree canopy.
For our Tennessee property, I set the fence using a recently added new feature. On the app, I called up a satellite view of our property and then zoomed in, using my finger to quickly draw the boundary on the screen.
This was very fast, easily edited, and worked perfectly.
At both Michigan and Tennessee, after establishing the virtual fences, I took the collar and the app – without Bo – and walked them off, making sure that the boundaries were accurate and the collar emitted warning tones when I approached the boundary line.
The accuracy of the SpotOn virtual satellite dog fence
The SpotOn people say the collar pulls GPS location data from up to 30 satellites across four global satellite systems to maintain precise boundaries and keep tabs on your dog. The company says boundary lines need to be drawn with the understanding that they can shift between 3-10 feet due to something known as GPS drift, which is the difference between your actual location and the location recorded by a GPS receiver.
The GPS shift on smartphones, for example, is typically about 15 feet. The SpotOn people say their drift is considerably less, 5-10 feet, because it taps into more satellites than smartphones.
In practical terms for me, that means that at the road that borders our property, I would set the boundary about 15 feet back from the road – adding 5 feet as a safety margin to their maximum drift of 10 feet.
In Tennessee, I did the same thing with the county road out front.
Then it was time to test the collar with Bo.
Bo had no problem accepting the collar. I spent about 15 minutes a day for several days working with him to make sure it worked and he understood what the warning tones meant. In Bo’s case, he seemed to get the hang of it almost immediately. I think that is because since he was a pup, we have had a wired invisible fence system around our main sticks and bricks house.
The SpotOn collar sounds a tone when he gets to about 10 feet of the boundary. If he goes on, at 5 feet it changes tone and becomes more urgent. That was more than enough for Bo, as you can see in the video.
About a week into his training, as we were walking in the woods, he spooked two deer towards the back end of the property. They were inside the invisible satellite fence, but turned and went out down the holler. Bo gave a short chase but stopped well short of the boundary before the tones were activated.
There is an option on the collar to have it give a static vibration correction through a couple of prongs that can be installed on the collar so they are in contact with the dog’s skin. But we chose not to use that feature as Bo quickly adjusted to the collar.
What happens if Bo goes over the satellite dog fence boundary?
The first couple of times we trained, Bo did go through the boundary.
Instantly, I received an alert on my smartphone and on my Apple watch.
There is a cellular option (AT&T or Verizon only) that you can purchase (which I did) for $7.95 a month that will automatically initiate tracking until the dog is returned to the fenced-in area.
This cellular option is not needed, but I chose it for extra peace of mind. It shows in real-time Bo’s location on the app and keeps updating every six seconds until he returns to the protected fence or you turn tracking off.
Even when he is inside the boundaries of the virtual satellite fences, I can use the app to instantly show me where he is at any given time. That feature is standard with the app. A couple of times when I left the RV to look for him, I thought he may have strayed outside the fence. But the app showed me he was just behind some trees or on the other side of a hill.
Battery life and other features
We have found the collar needs to be charged each day. We typically put in on Bo before he goes out of the RV. If he comes inside for periods of time, I take it off and deactivate it on the app, then reactivate and put it on him when he goes back out.
Charging takes about three hours, and I only received a low battery alert one time, about 9 PM on a day he had worn it pretty much since mid-morning.
The two fences I have set up so far are areas about 3 acres in size in Tennessee and 7 acres in Michigan. The SpotOn people say it can set a fence in areas as large as 1,000 acres.
Conversely, though, they say it is designed to perform best on properties that are at least 1/2 acre in size.
The biggest appeal of the satellite dog fence system for us is the ability to very quickly set virtual satellite fences anywhere. We plan to add additional fences at our son’s property not far from us and at a couple of our favorite boondocking areas in state and national forests.
The collar is waterproof to IP67 standards. That means Bo can wear it in the rain, in snow and even swim with it. It’s hard plastic, easily adjustable, and not overly heavy.
The satellite emblem must be at the top of the dog’s neck, pointing at the sky. It took me a few tries to get it adjusted tight enough, so it doesn’t slip to the side as Bo romps around. I found that if I could slip one finger between it and Bo’s skin, it would stay in place.
We’ve had this collar for a little over a month now, and it has worked very well for us.
Bo, as you saw in the video, seems very content.
We’ll circle back and update this review in six months or so.
But so far… so good. Great, really,
What do you think of this Satellite Dog Fence?
Let’s us know in the comments.
Where are you RVing Next?
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February 25, 2023at10:50 pm, Shauna Bott said:
This type of unit would be useful as we are new RV’ers. We are traveling with two Boxers for about 6 months and then will be living in our RV for a year as we build a house.
February 25, 2023at6:44 pm, Henry Kowalski said:
I would be great when we visit family without a fence.
February 25, 2023at6:33 pm, Alexis Fladseth said:
This is so cool!
February 25, 2023at8:53 am, tracy weiland said:
I have a stealthy Greyhound who quietly disappears at times and only comes when other people call her. This would sure come in handy to prevent this!
February 25, 2023at9:43 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:
Good to hear! It helps Mike and Jen a lot with their dog, Bo. Team RV Lifestyle
February 19, 2023at9:02 pm, Naveen Ramasahayam said:
February 19, 2023at11:15 am, Thomas P said:
This would be very useful for both travel and home. Great to let the dog have a bit of freedom without going to far away from the home base.
February 19, 2023at11:05 am, Scott Allen said:
I’d love a device to keep my dogs within a certain perimeter around my location. Say 25 feet. That would be useful for when I’m hiking with them.
February 20, 2023at9:46 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:
It is a great device! Team RV Lifestyle
February 13, 2023at9:04 am, Kobi Carpenter said:
This is a wonderful product we could definitely use. Our bulldog doesn’t wander but he is territorial so he likes to go after other dogs that come near our campsite. This would help us not stress and enjoy our stay knowing that he and other dogs would be safe.
February 14, 2023at10:32 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:
Thanks for sharing, Kobi! Team RV Lifestyle
February 10, 2023at12:27 pm, Cheryll Powning said:
This would make our camping trips so much more enjoyable. We love our pets & this is amazing!
February 09, 2023at8:13 pm, A J said:
This was such a great read and your review was excellent! It provided so many great points. Definitely would be such a big help next time I go traveling with my doggo!
February 10, 2023at9:55 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:
Thanks for the feedback! Team RV Lifestyle
February 08, 2023at12:27 am, Jeffery Clark said:
I’ll never, ever forget the time we lost our dog while camping. It was the scariest feeling, my wife and I searched until it was dark. We finally found him in the dark, far from our campsite and very agitated. This device would keep Sammy safe and I love it! Your description is very easy to read and answered all my questions! Thank you
February 08, 2023at8:57 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:
Thanks for the feedback, Jeffery! So glad you found your dog on that camping trip! Team RV Lifestyle
February 07, 2023at7:22 pm, Abraham Liandro said:
Would be perfect for RV travels id never lose my dog
February 07, 2023at7:03 pm, Keith VonBernewitz said:
WoW this is genius! I’ll never lose my buddy ever again!
February 07, 2023at4:20 pm, Edward Jackson said:
This has to be the best I have seen yet! I like this GPS collar.
February 07, 2023at3:16 pm, Alana Neville said:
This invisible fence would be perfect for all our RV travels to help keep our pups in without us having to monitor them 24/7 and let them enjoy being outside when it’s nice without having to be on a leash.
February 07, 2023at7:18 am, Rose Reedere said:
When we travel with our dog Curly he is so excited at first but after a few minutes he watches where we are traveling.
February 06, 2023at10:42 pm, Kelly Kriefall said:
This could make life so much easier!
February 06, 2023at10:01 pm, Sylvia Svihel said:
I wish I had this right now for my Golden as they just built 2 four plexes next door to us.
February 06, 2023at9:31 pm, Wolf Edwards said:
We don’t travel as much anymore and have too many dogs to bring them all along with us now. We would love to try this SpotOn GPS fence with our Great Pyrenees because we will soon have neighbors in our back country in the mountains. We have never had anyone live closer than a few miles away, but these new folks will be on the property that abuts our ranch, so we need a way to corral our big guy.
February 06, 2023at6:59 pm, Pamela Rehm said:
I would love to have one of these for each one of our rescues. They would especially come in handing for runners.
February 06, 2023at2:44 pm, Lynda Tenbusch said:
February 06, 2023at9:23 am, Derek Thiess said:
This would be really helpful when we travel to visit our families in Wisconsin!
February 06, 2023at3:45 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:
There are a lot of situations where it can be a lifesaver! Team RV Lifestyle
February 06, 2023at9:11 am, Linda Workman said:
I’ve never seen a device like this one. I’d love to win one, or save up to purchase it.
February 06, 2023at8:13 am, Jan Danielson said:
I’ve always wondered how well these work and your review was very informative.
February 06, 2023at3:43 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:
Thanks, Jan – We appreciate the feedback! Team RV Lifestyle
February 06, 2023at7:52 am, Matthew Lauer said:
This is so cool!
February 06, 2023at7:41 am, Peg Weissinger said:
I’ve been looking at these for awhile! They really have potential for campers.
February 06, 2023at3:42 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:
We agree- definite potential! Team RV Lifestyle
February 06, 2023at3:31 am, Christopher King said:
this is a great idea i would use this camping with my boys Jax an Beans my boxers
February 06, 2023at3:42 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:
Thanks for the feedback, Christopher! Team RV Lifestyle
February 05, 2023at10:03 pm, Corwyn Best said:
This would be awesome for my little trucker fur babies, especially these two. Both my babies are beagles, which are notorious for catching a scent & taking off if you don’t keep them on a leash whenever outside.
February 06, 2023at3:41 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:
These really do help! Team RV Lifestyle
February 05, 2023at9:42 pm, Dawn Heck said:
Wish I had one of these when we had our Husky. I didn’t need a gym membership when he had him. We have a senior dog we don’t need this for, BUT, we are looking to adopt again in the near future. Perhaps a GSD 😊
February 06, 2023at3:40 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:
Huskies are runners, aren’t they?? Mike and Jen’s daughter had a Husky years ago and she was quite the runner/escape artist. Definitely something like this would help with a dog like that. Thanks for the comment- Team RV Lifestyle
October 30, 2022at1:30 pm, Vickie Sweitzer said:
What about for use with multiple dogs?
October 31, 2022at11:35 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:
Hi Vickie – That is an excellent question for the manufacturer, or feel free to write Mike and Jen at email@example.com with this question for their podcast. Since they only have one dog, Bo, they did not try it for more than one. Team RV Lifestyle