What to Do Before Your Dog is Lost
2nd Annual Dog Fence DIY Scholarship Finalist
Kansas State University
The operative point is not “what to do when your dog is lost,” the operative point is what to do before your dog is lost.
Yes, there are lap-dogs which do not require exercise and large spaces to obtain such, but most dogs need to run and enjoy the outside. And to satisfy such, they need large spaces in which to run, to exercise and to explore. As one provides more space for this purpose, the probability of an untracked, unrestrained dog becoming misplaced simply increases.
The need to be proactive – the need to create a situation whereby the dog can fully be a dog, yet one as a responsible owner never faces the crisis of: “the lost dog.”
Modern technology, actually components of pretty commonplace modern technology provides an answer, a quite affordable, cost effective answer: The Electric Dog Fence Plus.
When cellphones were bag-phones, weighed pounds, had multi-pound batteries, maybe for the very forward thinking, they hinted toward the Electric Dog Fence Plus; but now that full function cellphones are less than fifty dollars, weigh less than 100 grams and have battery lives in the near-one-hundred hour range, the melding of technologies is obvious.
The Electric Dog Fence Plus: allows the canine owner to walk outside and at any time via their cellphone know exactly where their dogs is, and have the luxury of a wear-24/7-collar which requires no battery-swaps or explicit charging.
The Electric Dog Fence Plus, is no larger than the original unit, but now packs a plethora of new functions. The core of the Plus is a trimmed down cellphone. By using such, it takes advantage of all the weight savings and power saving that the cellphone industry has mustered over the last two decades, likewise all the cost savings that have made fifty-dollar cellphones possible – the core of the Plus is a twenty dollar forty gram module.
The owner of the Plus, to define the allowed area for their dog, simply download and start the Plus app on their Android or Apple phone; and with the Plus unit in hand, move to the various edges of the allowed area, indicating each time they reach an edge to the app. The software in the Plus with each new edge defined, builds up an arbitrarily complex/convoluted map of that allowed area. When all the edges have been defined, the user simply tells the app such, and that’s it. Once the Plus collar unit has been fastened to their dog’s neck it’s ready for operation. [At any point afterwards, if the owner needs to redefine the allowed area, they can either start from scratch – maybe the case of moving to a new venue; or they can redefine any of the previous limits via the app for their cellphone.] One of the owner friendly features/virtues of The Plus, is its install [does one “install” a dog collar?] and forget nature – the Plus has no batteries to be changed, or overtly charged, ever. By using a low-power cellphone core and disabling other than the few necessary functions, the Plus requires only one-hundred millwatts to power. The Plus can be active and running every day, for years. [The inductive charging station only requires that the dog sleeps within two meters of the power transmitter; and it uses RF energy in the one-megahertz range – a range long accepted as safe for humans and animals. The charging strategy is that the solar cells can provide sufficient power to more than run the Plus; and the RF charging station can do likewise, but even in the event of no charging, the Plus will run for approximately one-hundred hours on its own.] Where is my dog? That’s easy with the Plus: simply use the locate function of the Android or iPhone app. The Plus will read its GPS unit, and send the coordinates back. If one then wishes, the app can use Google Maps to plot that location. So, to within ten centimeters, one will know where their dog’s location is.
Of note, this locate my dog function can also be used beyond “it’s lost and I need to know where it is.” If one is doing biological research, the app can be used to record the dog’s location at any recurring interval. If the dog is within 30 meters of the inquiring phone, the app can save the cellphone call, and simply inquire via Bluetooth. If the Plus doesn’t respond then, then it will revert to a cellphone call.
Of note: since the Plus appears to the cellphone networks as just another 3G cellphone, for one to communicate with it, and assuming it’s out of Bluetooth range – the default and preferred communications vehicle – it requires a cellphone plan. But if one is only going to use the locate function infrequently, then one can use a pay as they go plan, where each “locate” request, simply costs ten cents – otherwise, one needs to evaluate the most cost effective plans per the intended usage.
It is important to note that the “electric/electronic fence” function does not require any cellphone network interactions – it is simply done by reading the dog’s location via the overhead GPS satellites.
So, instead of worrying about a misplaced dog, The Electric Fence Plus allows the owner of a dog to define, very real, of arbitrarily complex topology domains, which are entirely invisible, with an install-once-and-forget ease of use; but with the capability, should the unlikely need arise, to locate their misplaced animal, be it merely out of sight, or worse case, dog-napped and being held against its will in some remote location… all with low-cost off-the-shelf existing technology.
Note: We can’t wait for this technology to be available in the market. There are numerous GPS-based collars but as of yet we have not identified one with all the features described above Until then this is an excellent essay!