TRACTIVE GPS TRACKER

DISCLOSURE: We will earn a commission when you use our coupons/links to make a purchase of a Tractive GPS dog collar unit .

Tractive GPS Tracker … an honest review by a middle-aged blonde technophobe.

Why?

Ridgebacks are hounds.  As hounds, they love to track and chase and run .. and run … and run!!!  For many, the opportunity to chase after a deer or rabbit or other form of wildlife is just too much of a draw to resist and you may well find your recall training woefully inadequate.  I think for our breed more than most, having a reliable method of knowing exactly where they are, even when they’ve gone “off piste” is absolutely vital. 

Benefits to Rescue Dogs

At Ridgeback Rescue, we often get dogs in to rehome who we consider to be a flight risk; either because they are easily spooked, have a prior history of absconding or simply that they are likely to take a while to settle in their new home.  This, primarily, was why we decided to look into GPS Tracker systems.  We wanted to send all of our newly rehomed Rescues off with a tracker so that we, and their new owners, would have peace of mind that should the unthinkable happen, we would still have a good chance of reuniting them quickly and safely. 

Which GPS System to Purchase?

We have done a fair bit of research, trialled various brands and spoken at length with dog-owners who’ve tried them in the real world, as well as the companies who produce them.  Off the back of all of this, it seems that the Tractive GPS is the one that fits the bill for us best. 

A Review

So, are they any good?  Are they value for money? Are they difficult to use? What are the plus points with this system that made us choose them over some of the others?  Well, firstly, let me tell you that I am blonde – whether you like stereotypes or not, where tech is concerned, that is a big factor in my case so I was absolutely the right person to try it out … I mean, if I can make it work, anybody can!

Battery Life

Step 1, charge up your Tractive.  Plug it in through a USB just like you would your phone.  There are various settings and features that you can use on your tractive but, if left on constantly with the occasional check in, the tracker should have a battery life of about 5 days.  This is very important if you think your dog may go “on the run” and take a number of days to apprehend … no use having a tracker that will be flat after just a day.

The App

Step 2, download the free app to your phone and create an account for yourself.  This account lets you choose your plan (if you choose the plan to be over a longer period, the monthly fee is cheaper).  When compared to other Trackers, there are some for which the initial outlay is cheaper BUT for many, there is also a standing charge you must pay annually a little like paying to have a landline in your home ON TOP of the charge to use the Unit.  For this reason, many are not as cheap as they appear on face-value and the Tractive comes out as a very good option in the “value for money” stakes. 

On your account you can register the specific device(s), upload a profile banner and picture of your dog and store information just as you would from a FitBit (distance travelled, minutes of activity, calories burned, elevation climbed etc). 

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The neat thing with the App is that you can share a code, specific to your dog, with as many people as you need so that other family members can track him too … you just need one account and then email the code to whoever else needs it.  For us at Ridgeback Rescue, this facility means that not only the new owner, but also the Trustees at Ridgeback Rescue, will be able to see where the dog is at any given time so that if we need to rally a search party, we all have real-time information without the delay of having to contact each other by phone.

What Features?

You can set “virtual fences” so that should your dog stray further than a preselected radius, you will be notified immediately – vital in case he escapes from your home unexpectedly.  You can have more than one virtual fence so if you visit some places regularly, you can set up different fences for different locations.

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From the app you also have the option to turn on a light, in case your dog should go missing in the dark.  Along with the light, you can also turn on a beep sound so that you can hear the device should it be close by, but not actually in view (say under a bush or in a ditch).  The unexpected side plus from the beep is that you can use it as a force free way of helping to reinforce a recall – simply beep the device every time the dog is on his way back to you and reward handsomely to reinforce the connection between the gentle, unobtrusive beep and the jackpot pay-out of treats (NB: this is not to be confused with an e-collar.  It does not vibrate, surprise, shock or inflict pain and is in no way frightening or aversive to the dog).

Robust Enough for a Ridgeback?

The tracker is waterproof, mud-proof and certainly appears Ridgeback-proof!  It slots around your dog’s collar with a rubber attachment that clips to the unit in 4 anchor points … it certainly seemed pretty sturdy to me when Dice was charging about in it and wrestling with three other male RR’s and no sign of it coming off at all.

What Views are Available?

The map on which you can zoom in and out massively, gives you three options to view:

1) Standard map

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2) Augmented map which shows you more detail

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3) Satellite view which gives you an image like Google Earth so you will know what you are looking at in reality, not just squares on a map.

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Accuracy

The Tractive works on a GPS model and can also be used with WiFi.  It has around a 5 ft accuracy in detecting the unit.  We have tested it both on Dice in a live walk situation and also with me driving him in the car and my husband tracking us from home.  At 45 mph, it was accurate to within 10 meters and, as I’m guessing it’s unlikely your Ridgeback will be running at more than 45 mph, I reckon that’s accurate enough even for our ginger ninjas.  On “live” mode, it gives you real time updates around every 10-15 seconds so you are constantly updated as to where the Unit is. 

Final Opinion

When I volunteered to trial the Tractive GPS for Ridgeback Rescue, I had absolutely no intention of getting one for my dogs.  They are well behaved and stay with me (for the most part) within 100 feet maximum so it did seem a little unnecessary.  However, having used the Tractive for real, and being able to see exactly where my dogs are, the benefits and peace of mind they bring are undeniable.  I have three dogs at the moment, Rain is nearly 12 and his days of chasing deer are long gone.  I also have Coda, a 5 month old, who is very quickly getting faster and showing interest in anything that moves … for him, I just know this is going to be a life saver.  And then I have Dice.  Dice is 26 months old, hormonal, adolescent, as fast as lightening, has the prey drive to make a Puma blush and the stamina of Paula Ratcliffe!  With all the building going on just now, the deer where I live are having their habitat squeezed and we are finding them “pinging out” in front of us on our walks more and more.  I just know that when Dice and baby Coda team up, I’m going to be so much more confident knowing I will always know where they are when they inevitably decide that today is a good day for a hunt!

As I said at the start, I’m a middle-aged blonde with no particular techy leaning and even I was able to use the Tractive on the first time out.  The App is pretty user-friendly and straight forward, and the device itself seems robust enough for even the most Bear Grylls type Ridgeback. 

The Deal

Although the purpose of this trial/review was to purchase some devices for our Ridgebacks going to new homes from Ridgeback Rescue, having seen how good they are, we also wanted to offer all our supporters the opportunity to get their paws on a reliable Tracker too.  We have affiliated with Tractive so that you can now purchase a device for your hound through our website.  For every device purchased on our site, Ridgeback Rescue will be given a 20% donation … and at various times in the year there will also be a discount code just for our followers that brings you 20% off the retail price (the current voucher runs until the end of July).

For convenience, Tractive have added their most popular subscription plans to the Tractive GPS mobile app. Monthly payment is possible only with a BASIC subscription plan. All subscription plan options are listed on the Tractive website – they offer payment by the month, year, or every 2 or 5 years depending on which plan you choose (BASIC OR PREMIUM).

Click here to go to the shop to purchase yours: BUY TRACTIVE GPS DOG TRACKER

Dermoid Sinus: The Yorkshire Vet Explains

We went to the Sandbeck Veterinary practice recently and spoke to our patron: Julian Norton (The Yorkshire Vet) about Dermoid Sinus (DS) so we can provide everyone with more detail on what it is and how to detect it. He was kind enough to talk a little bit about it and demonstrate on Coda (a Ridgeback puppy aged 22 weeks at the time of recording) how you would search for a DS. A big thank you to him for the demonstration and for using one of his consulting rooms to film it!

In terms of what it is, Dermoid Sinus is a potentially very serious problem that, while not EXCLUSIVE to Ridgebacks, is predominantly found in Rhodesian Ridgebacks – hence why we wanted to give you as much information as we can on it. The scientific explanation is “Dermoid Sinus is a tubular skin defect caused by incomplete separation of the skin and the nervous system during embryonic development.” Essentially meaning that there are noodle-like bits of tissue connecting the upper layers of skin to the more important bits below, they form during the development of a pup inside its mother and are there from birth. These noodle structures could be as thin as a thread of cotton in a pair of jeans so it is often very difficult for everyone except those very experienced in looking for them to find (vets included). Any dog that has a Dermoid Sinus (or who had one that has been surgically removed) should never be bred from as the chances are likely that the pups would be genetically likely to also carry DS.

For more information on Dermoid Sinus you can find a post about it on our Owners’ Advice section of the website and you can find an in-depth blog courtesy of Rhodes2Safety about everything you could possibly need to know about DS (Including gory pictures) here: https://rhodes2safety.com/canine-tip-of-the-day-dermoid-sinus/

Without further ado: here is the video demonstration with a little introduction from our chairwoman here at Ridgeback Rescue: Kerry Rhodes

Amazon Smile, Easy Fundraising and the Weather Lottery

Due to lockdown, a lot of the fun ideas we would normally embark on haven’t been possible. But it’s not all doom and gloom!

There are three things that are easy (two are even free to do) that help us out massively to provide the level of care and support our rescue’s have grown accustomed to receiving.

EasyFundraising

Easyfundraising is a free add-on while you’re shopping that you might not even notice – choose our cause, visit shops and retailers online (something many people are doing right now, especially with restrictions) and shop as normal BUT Easyfundraising will donate a small amount with every purchase you make. They add up quickly and people have managed to raise a whopping £5,600 so far.

To set us as your charity follow this link and click “Support this cause” on the right of the page: https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/ridgebackrescue/

Amazon Smile

Do you use Amazon regularly? In the same way Easyfundraising works Amazon Smile will donate to us for every sale they make with you from the entire Amazon site.

All you have to do is follow this link, click the yellow “Get started” button and slect “Ridgeback Rescue (Eckington, EW)” as your designated charity and start shopping: https://smile.amazon.co.uk/gp/chpf/homepage?orig=%2F%3Ftag%3Dgooghydr-21%26hvadid%3D232361766627%26hvpos%3D%26hvexid%3D%26hvnetw%3Dg%26hvrand%3D13448881245658210391%26hvpone%3D%26hvptwo%3D%26hvqmt%3Dp%26hvdev%3Dc%26ref%3Dpd_sl_88t6ja85j9_b

Weather Lottery

We are part of the weather lottery: a small lottery with a not so small prize! You have a chance to win the top prize of £25,000. Step one is signing up and step two is getting lucky! Part of the money for entries comes directly to us so every person who enters is helping us.

The lottery results are calculated by using the temperatures from selected destinations around Europe on a particular day each week, players are assigned 6 numbers when registering that are then checked against the last 6 digits of temperatures in Fahrenheit that are published in the Daily Mail on the day of the draw.

Entries are just £1 with a max payout of £25,000, sounds like a no brainer!

Click here to join: https://www.theweatherlottery.com/charitiesHomepage.php?client=RIDGE_OTHER&NoOfLines=1

EASY FUNDRAISING

Please keep collecting easyfundraising donations – it means A LOT to us!

2020 has been challenging in so many ways, money has been tight, and fundraising has been difficult. Stepping into 2021, hasn’t changed the situation much and it looks like times will stay tough a little while longer. 

So, please keep supporting us through easyfundraising, a great FREE and SAFE way to help us receive donations – at NO cost to you!

Whenever you’re buying pet food, picking up a fantastic January sale or taking out a new insurance, use easyfundraising so we will receive an easyfundraising donation to help us keep looking after the animals. These donations make a HUGE difference to us as a small charity.

How it works? Over 4,000 retailers will give us a little “thank you” donation whenever you shop with them through easyfundraising, incl. Amazon, M&S, eBay, John Lewis, Pets at Home, Currys, ao.com, Photobox, Just Eat, Screwfix, Petplan, Booking.com, Boots, JD Sports, Etsy, Wayfair, EE and many more…

You can collect the easyfundraising donations for us through the free easyfundraising App or use the easyfundraising website – So easy, So why not?

Find out more and start collecting: https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/ridgebackrescue/?invite=43TQOL&referral-campaign=c2s

JOANNA RIDES FOR RIDGEBACK RESCUE​

CONGRATULATIONS & THANK YOU
To the lovely Joanna Charters. Joanna rescued Ziggy from us in January and has just completed the My Prudential Ride London-Surrey 100 which is a bike ride over 100 miles (and considering Joanna is a runner and really NOT a biker, this is a massive achievement.) We are very grateful that Joanna decided to take on the challenge to raise money for Ridgeback Rescue and, so far, she has managed to raise 75% of her target total. We ecstatic to announce Jo did reach to her target of £200 raised having put in so much effort. If you would still like to donate to her page, even just a couple of pounds, that would be amazing. Even if you can’t donate, I’m sure you’d love to join me in thanking Jo and giving her a huge Ridgie Round of Applause. xxx

HAND SANITISER CHALLENGE

Our supporters are just THE BEST! Seemingly never afraid to get involved in anything we throw at them – no matter how crazy it might be – and the Hand Sanitiser Challenge is just the latest of our mad projects.

Enjoy the lighter side of Corona Virus … and wash those paws!!!

 

 

RR Club of Scotland Virtual Walk in aid of Rescue

Walkies with the RR Club of Scotland

This wonderful idea comes from the fab folk at the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of Scotland. Due to all the social distancing guidelines in place just now, the RR Club of Scotland have a plan to bring us all together on a “virtual” dog walk.

So, this Sunday (10th May) wherever you walk your dog, please take a picture, with or without their human, and post it on to their FB wall for them to feature in their virtual dog walk gallery.  When you post it, if you can make a little donation by PayPal at rrcs@live.co.uk, that would be amazing.

All the monies collected will be split evenly between Ridgeback Rescue and the RRWT (Rhodesian Ridgeback Welfare Trust), so not only will we be able to enjoy all of your fabulous hounds … but you’ll be doing something incredible to help both our breed Rescue’s at a time when we really are up against it.

As always, we are praying you will get behind us and shower the Club with photos of your dogs from all around the UK and far beyond too (no Ridgeback is excluded, no matter where in the globe they may be).

Thank you to all of you, and of course to the RRCS as well. xxx

LOO ROLL CHALLENGE

The Lockdown of 2020 caused by the Corona Virus really did take the wind out of our sails but as ever, the supporters of Ridgeback Rescue refused to see anything but a silver lining and soon got behind us to produce yet another mad-cap video.

So, without further ado, I give you the Lockdown Loo Roll Challenge – featuring our wonderful supporters and their dogs, from many corners of the globe ……….. thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.

Click here for the Lockdown Loo Roll Challenge Video

Stay safe

The Trustees

RESCUE FUNDAY 2021 – best day of the year​

We are currently taking requests from stall holders, catering vans and ride providers. Should you wish to book a slot for your business to be at the show in September, please email:- Julie@RidgebackRescue.co.uk

** STOP PRESS **

Click here for your message from The Yorkshire Vet

Our Rescue Funday which had been scheduled for September 2020 has sadly had to be cancelled due to Covid 19. We hoped we would get away with it but with all the shifting sands of regulations, I felt we had no choice but to postpone.

So, NEW DATE FOR YOUR DIARY is Sunday 23rd May at 11.00 am

All details otherwise are the same and lovely Julian Norton has still kindly agreed to come along and meet you all.

ANYBODY WISHING TO HAVE A STALL or to SPONSOR A CLASS OR ACTIVITY is still more than welcome so please do get in touch to book your space.

A Special Guest Judge for our 2021 Rescue Funday:

JULIAN NORTON (aka The Yorkshire Vet), has kindly agreed to attend and be our judge for the day!!!! So, if you would like to meet Julian in person and, potentially, be able to say that “YOUR DOG was the one the Judge would most like to take home”, then you better be in it to win it!

Our show will take place in Malton, North Yorkshire, on Sunday 23rd May, 2021 – entry to the show itself is free, but classes and games are chargeable on the day with each dog entered into the show getting his or her own number on a special Funday Rescue keyring to keep 😉

We will have stalls, merchandise, refreshments and a licensed bar. To keep both you, the kids and your dogs entertained, we will also be hosting lots of fun classes and activities such as our ever popular flat and hay-bale scurries, egg and spoon race for dog & handler teams, fastest sausage eater competition (for the dog, not you!), temptation alley, agility demonstration and Have-A-Go agility. Inter-spaced with all the fun and games throughout the day, we will also be running a companion show with classes including: best puppy, best rescue, most beautiful eyes, prettiest bitch, most handsome dog, best ridge and of course the coveted class of “the dog the judge would most like to take home”, for which The Yorkshire Vet will be our Judge for the day.

At the end of the day, all games and show class winners will come into the main ring and compete for BEST IN SHOW 2021.

So please come along one and all – bring your gazebos, chairs and picnic baskets. We’d love to see as many of you there as possible – all breeds are welcome and all proceeds will go directly to Ridgeback Rescue to help us continue the support and rescue work we undertake each year.

If you are unable to come but would like to sponsor one of our classes or donate a prize for the raffle, we’d love to hear from you either on messenger or email at Kerry@RidgebackRescue.co.uk.

Thank you for your support. We’re gunna have a ball!