If your yard or property is half an acre or more, you may be strapped for a way to contain your dog within your outdoor space. Many dogs crave room to roam outside, but it’s so tricky to keep them safe and within bounds when a physical fence or buried wires aren’t a realistic option or simply are too much of a hassle to install.
Fortunately, dog fencing alternatives have evolved over the last few years thanks to technological advances. Enter the GPS-enabled fencing system. With the use of a smart collar, virtual yard boundaries, and a bit of training, you can keep your pup contained wherever you choose.
While Halo Collar is the most well-known of these GPS-fencing systems on the market today, Halo’s major competitor, SpotOn GPS Fence, is a major contender. We’ll explore how this smart system works, including our first-hand experience. And see why we think SpotOn is definitely worth considering despite its high price tag.
- What Is The SpotOn GPS Fence?
- SpotOn Key Features
- SpotOn Price
- Subscription Plans For Tracking (Optional)
- Our Personal Experience With SpotOn
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Thoughts
What Is The SpotOn GPS Fence?
The SpotOn GPS Fence combines the convenience of a wireless fencing system with a GPS dog tracking collar for a virtual system that performs like no other. There’s no need for wiring, base stations, or other equipment because the entire system works through the collar and smartphone app.
Its most useful benefit is that it allows you to easily set up multiple virtual fences almost anywhere on your property, giving your pup plenty of room to explore off-leash but only within your specified areas. The other huge plus with this system is that you can get instant alerts and track your dog’s location via your smartphone if he does escape your set boundaries (although this requires a monthly subscription).
Evolution Of The SpotOn GPS Fence
The original SpotOn system debuted in 2019 to much fanfare, winning awards from the Consumer Electronics Show, the NH Tech Alliance, and South by Southwest. But the exciting new technology had some major kinks to work out. SpotOn took customer complaints to heart and has made significant upgrades and improvements to its first-generation product.
In 2022, the company unveiled its second-generation SpotOn GPS fencing system, which incorporates greatly improved collar durability and battery life, more accurate GPS and cellular performance and connectivity, a newly designed mobile app, and much more. We love that SpotOn continues to add features and improve its system’s technology.
SpotOn Key Features
SpotOn GPS Fence has so many excellent features to enhance your virtual fencing experience. We’ve highlighted SpotOn’s most noteworthy features to help you understand its capabilities and how it works.
SpotOn GPS Fence
- Ability to create multiple, overlapping wireless fences over 1,000+ acres
- Real-time alerts and GPS and GNSS-enabled activity tracking
- Easy to use and customize
- Adjustable collar fits neck sizes between 10″ to 26”
- Chew-proof and water-resistant collar
- Up to 22-hour battery life
- User-friendly Android and iOS apps
- 90-day money-back guarantee
- 1-year warranty
Virtual Wireless Fencing
SpotOn allows you to set up to 20 fences using up to 1,500 virtual fence posts within your property. You can create overlapping fences, a fence-inside-a-fence, and keep-out zones where you don’t want your dog to roam, like a garden or swimming pool. SpotOn’s new Home Zones feature also lets you disable collar corrections around your home so your dog can go outside and inside without you having to remove the collar.
And there are very few restrictions on your fence sizes. While SpotOn recommends a yard size of at least 1/2 acre, you can extend your fences to more than 1,000 acres. How do you set them up? That’s one of the most amazing features. You can create your fences easily by simply walking the boundaries or by drawing them on your property’s map in the SpotOn app. Walking the area allows you to get more precise fences. All you have to do is have your phone and the collar in hand while you walk.
The system automatically creates your fence posts, which are then stored in the app and collar. You can even hit the app’s pause button to get around a body of water or another obstacle you can’t walk. Then, the system automatically draws a straight line over the obstacle. Each fence you create is integrated with the Global Positioning System (GPS) and Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS).
The SpotOn collar taps into a network of 128 satellites and connects to 25 or more satellites at one time for more accurate positioning than similar systems, like Halo. This allows you to use the virtual fencing in remote areas without needing a cellular connection. (However, you do need cellular coverage to track your dog and to see real-time updates of his location.)
How Does It Keep Your Dog In Bounds?
The SpotOn collar communicates with your dog using corrections that you can customize in the app. Settings are similar to what you find with most smart dog training collars, including 30 levels of sound, vibration, and optional static corrections. When your dog comes near the boundary, the collar first issues an alert tone, which tells your furry friend that he’s nearing the edge of the fence. (You’ll train him to return to the center of the fence when he hears it.)
However, if your dog keeps moving toward the boundary, a harsher warning tone alerts your pup to turn around. The collar plays this warning tone just before it issues a vibration or static correction at the edge of the fence. But if you’re like me and don’t want to use static shock on your pup, it’s important to know that the vibration and static corrections are optional. If your dog leaves the fence, you’ll immediately be notified via the app (if you have SpotOn’s cellular subscription).
Training your furry friend to understand the system does require effort on your part. SpotOn recommends working with your pup for about 15 minutes a day for at least a week until he gets the hang of it. Dogs who are easier to train should catch on fairly quickly, but some could take a few weeks to master the system.
Fortunately, it comes with step-by-step training instructions with QR codes to scan for assistance videos, plus a 30-minute training consultation with a SpotOn certified dog trainer. These tools are a massive help to ensure you’re boundary training your pup the right way and using the system’s features correctly.
GPS Activity Tracking & Escape Alerts
In addition to keeping your dog contained in your yard, the other major benefit of SpotOn is real-time GPS tracking. When you activate this feature, you can see your dog’s location at any time, which is useful if you have a large fence boundary or if your pup escapes. This feature also sends you notifications on your phone if your dog escapes or his collar battery is low.
The location tracking automatically updates every 6 seconds so you can keep as precise as possible tabs on your dog’s whereabouts. This system also has a unique feature called Forest Mode, which improves GPS performance under dense leaf cover from trees, brush, or bushes. SpotOn is accurate to 3 feet under open sky and 10 feet under heavy tree cover or near buildings.
A monthly subscription plan is required to activate GPS location tracking and escape notifications. You can choose between SpotOn’s Verizon or AT&T LTE-M coverage (you can’t sync the collar with your personal cell plan). Subscriptions are $9.95/month (monthly plan), $7.95/month (1-year plan), or $5.95/month (2-year plan). You get a 90-day free trial if you sign up for the 1 and 2-year plans.
Where Can I Use SpotOn?
The beauty of this system is that it works on all types of terrain, including rivers and streams, forests, driveways, hilly areas, and more. And SpotOn is a fantastic choice if you want a portable fencing system that you can use when you’re camping, renting a beach house, staying with family out-of-town, or just about anywhere.
Because the system uses GPS and GNSS satellite technology, you can set up fences anywhere in the world. But depending on where you are, there are a couple of caveats you’ll want to be aware of. First, you’ll need to train your dog with the new boundaries. The other big exception is that you won’t be able to use the dog tracking feature or get escape alerts if you’re staying somewhere without reliable cellular coverage.
For example, if you’re camping in a remote area without connectivity, you’ll need to initially set up your fences through the app with a WiFi or cellular connection before you leave home. Once you’re at the remote location, the fences will work, meaning the collar will issue boundary alerts to your pup. However, the escape alerts and tracking features won’t work.
Collar Features & Battery Life
The collar comes in three adjustable sizes to accommodate a variety of dogs. When we tested SpotOn, the collar was easy to adjust using the simple pop-out clip. We also like that the material is somewhat flexible and conforms to the shape of your dog’s neck. The only downside for sizing is that the collar won’t fit toy or extra-small breeds or very large dogs with thick necks.
- Small: 10-14 inches
- Medium: 12-18 inches
- Large: 19-26 inches
We love that the collar has an IP67 water-resistant rating, so your dog can play in streams or roam in the rain. And the material is rubbery and doesn’t retain water. SpotOn’s rechargeable battery lasts up to 22 hours in containment mode and 14 hours in tracking mode. You can keep an eye on the battery life through the app (requires a subscription), and the collar itself has a low-battery life indicator. When we tested SpotOn, it only took about an hour to fully recharge.
How much does SpotOn cost? The collar itself is $1,295 and they offer a 90-day money-back guarantee and a one-year warranty.
SpotOn is having Black Friday sale with collars only $999 for a limited time (through November 27, 2023) when you purchase via this link.
Subscription Plans For Tracking (Optional)
While a subscription isn’t mandatory, the system is limited without a plan. While the collar gives feedback to the dog via vibration and sound without a subscription, you must have SpotOn’s AT&T or Verizon cellular coverage service to receive alerts that your dog has left your yard and to be able to track his whereabouts on your smartphone. You can get a 90-day free trial if you sign up for the one or two-year plan.
- $9.95/month (monthly)
- $7.95/month (1-year plan)
- $5.95/month (2-year plan)
Our Personal Experience With SpotOn
Overall the collar’s responsiveness and user experience are both excellent in my experience. After completing the detailed training program, I feel positive he’ll get the hang of the collar in no time, and am confident in the technology behind this product. I walked the perimeter of the park going around obstacles like benches and trees as I watched the app draw the fence in real-time. I was impressed at how detailed the fence line was, and I was eager to test the boundaries. It’s amazing how accurate the invisible fence lines were. When getting close to the “edge,” it makes a loud beep. As you get closer to the boundary, there is a two-tone alert. And if you cross the boundary, the collar vibrates.– Sadie Cornelius, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog parent
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about SpotOn GPS Fence.
Does SpotOn require a subscription?
No, the cellular subscription is optional. You can create and activate fences and contain your dog without SpotOn’s cellular subscription. However, you’ll need to sign up for their cell plan if you want to get escape notifications and track your pup’s location through the app.
Does SpotOn use electric shock?
Yes, but it is a very mild version of an electric shock collar that’s referred to as a “static correction.” The static correction levels feel similar to a tap on your dog’s neck. With 30 levels of static feedback, you can customize these to suit your dog. Static correction is also completely optional to use, which is helpful if you have a timid or highly sensitive pup.
Is SpotOn waterproof?
Yes, the SpotOn collar is waterproof and meets IP67 standards. Essentially, this means that it’s protected against full water immersion for up to 30 minutes in depths up to 1 meter (3+ feet). You won’t have to worry about your pup taking a dip in a lake or being out in pouring rain.
Are there yard size requirements?
While this system may work in slightly smaller yards, SpotOn recommends you have at least half an acre. This gives your pup enough space to roam without frequent corrections. If you’re unsure whether SpotOn is a good fit for your yard, you can contact their customer service to get advice before you buy. SpotOn also has a few more details to keep in mind when planning fence dimensions:
- You’ll need to account for GPS drift (typically between 3 to 10 feet near heavy forest or tall structures).
- It’s important to include at least a 15-foot buffer zone between the boundary and any unsafe area, like a major roadway.
- At its narrowest point, your fence should be at least 80 feet wide. Because your dog will hear tones within 10 feet of the boundary, a fence that’s too narrow will not allow your pup to move about without hearing tones all the time.
Can I use SpotOn with multiple dogs?
Yes, you can use the system with multiple dogs, but each dog needs its own collar (and subscription plan). SpotOn offers 10% off if you purchase multiple collars at the same time. You can share fences between collars and manage multiple collars through the app.
Although SpotOn is a hefty up-front cost, you’d likely spend close to that (or much more) fencing in your yard. Still, it’s a big investment and costs a lot more than Halo Collar. With that said, we highly recommend SpotOn over Halo if you can swing the price (SpotOn offers financing options). SpotOn’s technology is more accurate, and their system gets overall better customer reviews compared to Halo.
Other than having to boundary train your furry friend, SpotOn is such a hassle-free way to keep your pup contained while giving him tons of room to roam free. We love the high-tech features and find the app extremely user-friendly. Both the Android and iOS apps get overall excellent customer reviews. Ultimately, you want to give your pup freedom and yourself peace of mind, and we think SpotOn is totally worth it.