When some dogs go off-leash, the world becomes their oyster. For pet owners, this can be a troublesome ordeal. It often means having to chase down your pet, who in turn mistakenly thinks you’re playing a game with them and runs faster and further away from home.
While it might not be your pet’s intention to run away from home, this is a situation that many dog owners find themselves in. Each year, about 10 million pets go missing in the U.S. alone, and a fraction of them end up in animal shelters.
The emotional distress of a pet going missing is unbearable, especially if the dog and the owner have a very close connection. And while microchips can be scanned at a vet’s clinic or at the pound, they won’t necessarily prevent your dog from getting lost. They also don’t have an in-built tracking system that keeps them from running away in the first place, and can’t tell you how far off they’ve gone.
To help solve this problem, there’s a new smart dog containment device that promises to help pet owners have an easier time keeping their dog from harm. As enthusiastic dog lovers, we were pretty excited to test Halo Collar out and find out if it really holds up to its promises.
Read on for our full Halo Collar review and see if it’s worth it.
What is Halo Collar?
Halo Collar was developed to serve as a contingency for whenever your dog strays further away from home. It’s essentially a next-gen wireless fence system that enables you to create fences via your smartphone, and the instructions are sent and stored in your pet’s collar.
The fences work autonomously with the collar as a self-driving car would, to help guide your dog to stay within the fence perimeter you’ve set up. Halo Collar will then notify your dog whenever they’ve wandered too far, which ultimately guides them to stay within the fence you created
This should help give you the peace of mind by knowing that your pet is within the safe zone you’ve set up for it, and will also alert you whenever your furry buddy is skirting close to the edge of the designated area. This makes it much easier to go with your dog anywhere, whether it’s the park, beach, camping, or even office.
The intuitive design of Halo Collar is a culmination of the digital tracking experience of two brothers: Michael and Ken Ehrman, combined with the extensive experience of the canine behavior expert, Caesar Millan, who is also called The Dog Whisperer. Together, these founding partners developed an effective smart collar system, ideally combining smart boundary training and intelligent fencing technology for dogs.
Does It Work?
You might be wondering how a virtual, wireless fence would work and how it would keep your dog within the fence. Well, Halo Collar essentially works by connecting to a Halo app on your phone, through which you set up the fence wherever you are – at home or the outdoors. You can set it up by either walking around the perimeter of the fence with the collar in hand, or by tapping specific points on the map provided in the app to create the boundaries. Halo app lets you set 20 custom wireless fences wherever you go to keep your pet safe.
How it Works
Feedback and Encouragement
After setting up the wireless enclosure, the app also lets you set personalized prompts to alert your dog that you’re aware they are about to leave the fenced area. Leveraging GPS technology, the Halo Collar system will essentially activate the feedback settings to correct the behavior of your pet.
The training feature also comes with three levels of feedback:
- First-time feedback
- Escalated feedback
Each of these levels is customizable and is designed to guide your pet to stay inside the boundaries of the area via prompts they can easily respond to, which in turn helps keep them from wandering off. Halo Collar also features settings to laud good behavior via different forms of encouragement to remind your pup that they are a good dog!
Your Pup Can Roam Safely
Most dogs will require freedom to roam around to stay healthy, with most needing 1 to 2 hours of exercise per day. When you let your dog wear the Halo Collar, you can mind your own business as the collar tracks of where he/she is within the fence. In the app, you can see what they have been up to via the activity tracker. Just as with the fitness trackers made for humans, the Halo app will provide you with data on how much time your dog has spent walking, resting, or running.
But we are getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s look at the main features and benefits of Halo Collar.
Key Features and Benefits
Halo Collar comes with pre-set smart virtual fences that you can easily customize via the app to set up the perimeters of the fence you want. This gives you the security and freedom of letting your dog roam off leash without the anxiety of them wandering too far off without your knowledge.
The smart virtual Halo Fences are usually saved into the collar itself. Keep in mind that the Fences feature is integrated with Halo Collar’s internal GPS and logic. This translates into less worries for you as the dog owner, since this allows the system to work even without a data connection or Wi-Fi.
The boundaries are specifically designed to communicate with the Prevention Feedback system intuitively and automatically. The use of the Encouragement Feedback system is quite effective in guiding and commanding your pet to come back to you.
Since the Halo Fences feature is integrated with GNSS and GPS, you don’t need to invest in anything else to set up a secure area for your dog to play in. You can just use the Halo App to map the location in which you want to create a fence, or just walk around the perimeter of the area’s boundary to set up the fence.
Halo Collar provides you with true portability in creating fences compared to building your own fence. The portability feature essentially has your back and should help keep you at ease about the safety of your pup no matter where you go, as the app can be used to set up fences anywhere in the world. The device can also track the location of your dog within 10 feet with a pretty high accuracy level. You can also create up to 20 fences as needed.
Usable in All Terrains
Since Halo Fences is integrated with GPS, Halo Collar has the capacity to be used in all forms of terrain, including driveways, streams and rivers, and other kinds of elevation and surfaces.
Halo Collar also features Safety Statuses, which ideally show you the locations and activities of your pet in real time. This is possible due to the integration of the GPS and GNSS systems as well as the Wi-Fi and Cellular technologies into the Collar itself. This means less worries for you.
The Prevention Tracking feature is designed to track the frequency of the prevention your pup has received, such as with the warning, boundary, and emergency prompts. This data will be helpful in recognizing any changes or patterns in your dog’s behavior that might need more attention during training.
Halo Collar also lets you track the activities your pup gets into. This feature allows your device to be able to track activities and create reports about how many hours your pup spent resting and doing activities, the number of steps they’ve made, and many more. These will all be available on the app’s dashboard.
Set Up and Use
Although Halo Collar is quite an innovative containment and safety product for your pup, it’s not exactly a plug-and-play gadget. It actually requires some level of patience on your part to train the dog on how to respond to the stimuli produced by the collar.
If you were to set up a physical fence around your home, you probably would think about training your dog about the fence as it already creates a boundary for your pup’s play area. However, a fence is just half the solution. You need to train your dog with certain prompts that make them know going past the fence is dangerous, and they should always turn around and come back to safety. Neglecting this boundary training ends up causing pets to wander through narrow openings in the fence and head out into the unknown.
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Halo Collar essentially provides you with the portability and convenience of setting up a wireless fence just about anywhere, and even comes with a 21-day training program to get you and your pup accustomed to using the device. This is where the trusty Caesar Millan’s canine behavioral training comes in.
In the 21-day training program, you teach your furry friend about Halo Collar’s encouragement and feedback system, while also getting yourself acquainted with how to become a trusted pet parent that your pup can depend on.
Caesar Millan’s Built-In Training: What To Expect
The Halo Company collaborated and partnered with Cesar Millan, a renowned dog expert trainer, to integrate his Behavioral Psychology Training methods into Halo Collar. This involves boundary training for 21 days, where you will only need to follow 4 detailed steps that are easy to comprehend.
The 21-day training program is considered one of the safest and most effective training methods. We can attest to it as we were able to train our pretty stubborn pup really well.
The first two steps include the Day 1 and Day 2 training, which involve the Introduction of Halo Collar to your pup and User Training and Setting Up. This means the first two days of training are all about familiarizing yourself and your pet to Halo Collar. This is quite easy and straightforward, as it features step-by-step guidance.
We liked that it’s quite easy to follow through the training because it will track your pup’s progress through the app. You also get access to exclusive videos from Cesar, which show you the tricks he uses to train his dogs. These are also easy to follow as they also feature step by step instructions. The platform is practically heaven-sent for the visual learners.
The 3rd and 4th steps include the Days 3 to Day 10, where the focus is Indoor Training, and Days 11 to day 21 which focus on Outdoor Training.
Setting up the Custom Feedbacks
Halo Collar feature 6 different forms of feedback:
- Encouragements: Boundary, warning, and emergency feedback
- Prevention: Come home, good dog, and whistle feedback
We liked the feedback feature as it does its job automatically. For instance, the “come home” feedback has the system intuitively sending out feedback to your pup to let it know when it needs to come back to you. Cesar’s famous “TSCH” command is included, and you will be guided through the process of selecting the best feedback for your pet. This actually helped us find the best feedback for our pup.
There is also an in-built feature called Indoor Halo Beacons, which ideally communicates with the Halo Collar to produce perfectly-timed feedback in order to guide your pup to stay away from the boundaries you’ve created. This helped us a lot when training our pup as it gives positive associations and boundaries rather intuitively.
We found the GPS and GNSS systems to work quite accurately in locating your pup. The good thing about it is that in case your pup tries running away, you will be warned at least 10 to 15 feet leeway before the boundary is reached.
Is it a Shock Collar?
Hallo Collar provides three types of customizable feedback:
There are a total of 15 levels of static and volume signals, along with a variety of different vibration types, tones, and sounds. This ideally covers nearly every pet owners’ parenting style.
Is it Safe?
The Halo team aims at enhancing the safety of your pup and giving you the peace of mind you deserve with Halo Collar. They are aware of the fact that the only way to keep your pup safe is through prevention, and pets who love to roam around can do so safely inside the boundary you create.
RELATED READING: Halo Collar vs SpotOn
To help you get familiarized with the device, Halo Collar comes with a 21-day training program from a dog expert, so that you can not only use the product to keep your pet safe wherever you go, but also ensure that you’re using the product safely and as intended.
In general, from our experience using the product, we can comfortably say that Halo Collar is safe to use.
Pros and Cons of Halo Collar
- Naturally intuitive guidance and protection for dogs
- Comprehensive training on how to use the product effectively
- Smart fences are stored in the collar
- Adjustable collar to fit dogs of all ages and sizes
- The built-in Halo App supports both Android and iOS devices
- Suitable for all types of terrain
- Portable and flexible design
- Has a water rating of IP-67
- Multiple positive Halo Collar reviews online
- Different plans available to choose from as per your budget
- The collar is good for dogs above five months
- Relatively easy to use
- Not ideal for small puppies (younger than 5 months)
- The device is not free to use as you need to buy plans
- You need to train your pup manually with the provided training program for best results
- Premium features are not provided in the basic plans, meaning you need to spend more to make the most out of it
- The battery drains relatively fast
How Much Does It Cost?
Halo Collar comes neatly packed in a cardboard box, featuring all of the components inside it.
Each package comes with:
- Halo Collar
- Collar strap
- Wall charger and a USB-C charging cable (used to recharge the built-in battery)
- Blank contact nodes
- 2x pairs of contact tips
- 1x Beacon (can be used to create a local boundary to create a specific “off-limits” area or room within a house?
The package normally costs $999, though the prices are regularly discounted to about $799 every now and then.
Keep in mind that there is a small monthly subscription fee that’s necessary if you need to use Halo Collar with its advanced GPS tracking and LTE capabilities. The Basic plan will cost you $2.70 a month, which will provide you with the basic features.
Upgrading to the Silver Plan will mean paying $9.99 a month, which will give you access to Weekly and Monthly activity reports and access to any premium features and future releases. For those looking for the complete and premium experience, you can upgrade to the Gold plan at $29.99 a month. This gives you access to an Expanded behavioral training (from the standard 21-day program), training from certified experts, special monthly updates to train your pup better, and exclusive online sessions.
Summary: Final Tips for Deciding if Halo Collar is Right for Your Dog
We like the Halo Collar and it’s quite easy for us to recommend it to any dog owner who is considering buying a smart collar. We liked that it works autonomously in training and guiding our pup to be better, in our efforts to keep them safe.
However, we feel that the price is too expensive for the product. The battery also drains too fast especially when using GNSS and GPS, which are essential in locating your dog more accurately.
Nonetheless, it’s still an effective product and if you can afford it, go right ahead and buy it.