FAQs

About us

How was the Retrieva™ Tracking and Anti-theft collar created?

We started by thinking about what dogs do, how they live and what concerns their owners. We then looked at how new and emerging technologies could help deal with this problem and spent a year researching the problems and potential solutions. We demonstrated the mapping and tracking technology at Crufts in 2007 and spoke with many people who had experienced a missing or stolen dog.

It was only then that we stated to design the collar to incorporate all of the features needed by dog owners and revealed the results at Crufts in 2008. Since then the collar has been featured on the front page on The Times, in most other national newspapers, the BBC and other TV channels, and the media all around the world. Whilst we are very proud of what we have achieved it has been created and designed by listening to what domestic and professional dog owners want.

How does it work?

The System

The collar and the ICyou™ charging system work together to monitor your dog’s whereabouts, alerting you if they leave home unexpectedly and telling you where they are. If your dog were to escape or be removed from your garden the "ICYou" monitoring system would notify you. The tracking technology is automatically activated and you can get the location data by requesting it with a text message from your phone or via the mapping site on the internet. Whilst walking your dog the collar will automatically calculate its own position, and provided that you are comfortable that your dog has not wandered off, will simply continue to maintain this information. If the dog were to disappear then you can ask the collar where it is and it will tell you.

So how do I find my dog?

Locating a lost dog or one that has escaped can be done in 4 simple ways:

1. By phone using Google Maps.
For internet enabled phones including iPhones and Android phones using Google Maps/Google Earth.

  • Send a text message to your dog.
  • When you get the response, select the link to Google Maps.
  • Then choose to see the location in either the Maps or Satellite image format.
  • With a GPS (Satnav) enabled phone, the map can also show your location and directions to the dog.
  • Also shows dogs speed and direction of travel.

2. By phone using Viewranger Ordnance Survey mapping software.
now

  • On your phone open the Viewranger mapping software.
  • Use "Locate now" menu option.
  • The dog’s location will be shown on the topographically detailed map (-- shows off-road detail such as woods, streams, pylons, contour lines etc).
  • With a GPS (Satnav) enabled phone, the map can also show your location and directions to the dog.
  • Also shows dogs speed and direction of travel.

3. Using your computer and the internet.
Some dogs are able to enjoy a fairly free existence but it's good to know where they are or where they have been on their travels. So, from your home or office you can "see" where your dog is.

  • Access the Retrieva mapping panel using your login and password.
  • Select "locate now" button to see current location.
  • Using another button, put the collar into "Track" mode to see live tracking and find the interesting places your dog visits!

4. Using your phone to track the dog live on ViewRanger software showing it on either freely downloadable satellite mapping or traditional graphical mapping.

  • Put the collar into” track” mode.
  • Use your phone to access the ViewRanger mapping software.
  • Through the menus select your collar having pre-loaded t onto the tracker list.
  • See the dog’s location updating on your phone every few seconds. The collar will also be reporting directly to the mapping panel.

What is the "ICYou™"?
The ICYou is the "intelligent charging unit" – a power management and recharging base station that knows when your dog is close by and therefore safe.

We created this with three things in mind:

  • Most tracking technology is on all the time. It is power hungry and can quickly drain the battery.
  • Most dogs spend most of their time safe within the house or garden and therefore do not need to have the tracking technology switched on.
  • It is impractical to recharge a collar every day/night and so we created the ICYou.

This unique system is designed to provide a very local link and a safe environment for the collar, but most importantly to switch off the collar when it is within a safe zone, thereby saving battery power. It can also trigger an alert if the tracker leaves the safe area.

The range of the ICYou is approximately 100 metres radius, but this can vary depending on physical location, thickness of walls etc. The range can be extended by pairing the collar with more than one ICYou unit or simply relocating the unit to give better coverage (e.g. upstairs).

As there are variables in the range over which the ICYou technology works, it is important that you test your collar and ICYou unit to establish a working range for your own needs.

Is the ICYou portable?
It is and you can create the safe zone wherever you take the ICYou and plug it in. So this will provide you with the additional protection if you were to take your dog on holiday or to visit friends or relatives. Once plugged in at the new location the local safety area will be in place.

It is important to note that in this new location the range may differ slightly to the coverage at your own home.

Some people use an ICYou at home and at work, others have one located in the house and another in an out-building which then extends the local range.

What tracking technologies does it use?
It is unique amongst retail tracking products in having 3 technologies: GPS (SatNav), GSM (mobile telecom) and RF (Radio Frequency). It uses them to create an overlapping and mutually reinforcing system to monitor and track your dog. No other dog tracking system uses three technologies.

How long will the battery last?
There is no exact answer to the battery life as it depends on type of usage. For example:

In "normal" usage: defined as a dog walked twice a day for an hour total, the battery will need recharging every 5-7 days.

If the collar is in high power usage “track” mode, with all technology switched and the collar reporting every 10 seconds, from full charge the battery will last from 18-24 hours.

For some very specialist uses, we also have the ability to put the technology into a deep sleep, waking up once a day to record and provide location data. In this mode the battery can last up to 4 months.

Of course the important thing is that the device will advise you by text when it needs recharging.

Security and anti-theft features

How am protecting my dog?

The collar is lockable.
Of course you don’t have to lock the collar and we also produce a quick release clip for working dogs.
The webbing is made with unique anti-cut webbing.
On many occasions people have tried to cut the webbing at various trade shows and Crufts, but no-one has been able to do so. You should also note that trying to cut a collar held in your hand should be far easier than one on a dog that isn’t likely to know the person attempting it.
The collar contains a tamper alert system that sends a text message to you if anybody tries to interfere with the lock or tries to cut the webbing.
Please note:
There is no substitute for best practise in minimising your dog’s vulnerability to theft. For advice and further information please see www.dogtheftaction.co.uk or www.doglost.co.uk

*Of course you don’t have to lock the collar and we also produce a quick release clip for working dogs.

**On many occasions people have tried to cut the webbing at various trade shows and Crufts, but no-one has been able to do so. You should also note that trying to cut a collar held in your hand should be far easier than one on a dog that isn’t likely to know the person doing it.

Please note:
There is no substitute for best practise in minimising your dog’s vulnerability to theft. For advice and further information please see www.dogtheftaction.co.uk or www.doglost.co.uk

My dog is chipped, so why would I need a Retrieva collar?
We believe that all dogs should be chipped.

However microchips are identification tags that are implanted under the skin that identify the owner. Recovering a lost dog with a chip relies on the goodwill of whoever has found the dog to return it to someone with a scanner. The microchip needs to be read by an electronic scanner which is generally used by vets, dog wardens, kennels or the police to confirm the ownership of the dog.

If a dog gets lost or escapes, the chip will not tell the owner where their dog is, - the Retrieva™ collar will.

Why can’t this technology be implanted?
A tracking system needs to be able send and receive telecom and satellite signals and can only do this if it has a power source (battery) which can be recharged or replaced. It is therefore not practical to implant this type of technology.

How many dogs are lost or stolen each year?
These figures are particularly hard to verify as a dog stolen from a car might be considered car crime rather than dog theft, and a lost dog can include those that go missing for a couple of hours as well as those that are never found again. However a survey by Sainsbury’s bank in July 2006 estimated that 270 dogs are stolen every day in the UK (98,550 each year), and many more simply go missing. It is reasonable to assume that the total number of missing or stolen dogs is at least in the region of 150,000 per year.

Usability

Design

The Retrieva tracking collar has been designed specifically for dogs with comfort and safety in mind. It is not an unsightly box threaded onto a collar - but is ergonomically designed to the shape of a dog’s neck. It is adjustable; come in several sizes (minimum neck size 34cm / 13inches) and acts as an ordinary collar that can have a lead attached.

The collar offers great technical advantages by allowing the GPS (Satnav) appropriate antenna to be sky facing for maximum performance rather than hanging under the dog’s neck away from the signal.

Waterproof or shower proof?
It pays to read the small print, and yes, there is a big difference. Some products described as "waterproof" are not recommended for dogs that like to swim. What they really mean is that the dog can wear it in the rain. The Retrieva collar is designed to comply with IP67. This means it is protected against dust and can be totally immersed in water up to a metre in depth – in other words ideal for Labradors, Retrievers, Spaniels and other keen swimmers. It’s no good having to tell your lost dog to stay away from the water!

Safety
As an electronic retail product it has to comply with a strict set of European and International safety standards. Furthermore, because the collar only switches itself on when it has to it is ‘live’ for far less time than any similar product.

How 'technological' will I need to be to use the collar?
Over the last year we have simplified the processes used to locate your dog. The collar is controlled by your mobile phone or through the web based mapping panel. So if you can use a mobile phone or a computer you will be able to use the Retrieva collar.

We recognise that technology is only a tool that can keep your dog safe. We have tried to keep the process of setting up and using the collar and tracking system as simple as possible. It can send alert messages to a number of phones and so can notify family and friends as well as you if there is a problem or alert.

Why is there a red 'panic' button?

No matter how clever your dog is it is unlikely that it will ever be able to press the panic button! However, because we know that your dog needs you as much as you need them we thought it would be a good idea to have a mechanism for you to seek help. Many dogs are owned and walked by people who may occasionally feel vulnerable such as children, single women or more elderly people.

Dogs are often walked in remote areas, woodland, or along tracks. It is easy to get yourself lost, or slip and hurt yourself, or meet someone that makes you feel uncomfortable or threatened. Pressing this button will send an alert message to the other numbers you have programmed into the collar. It will also send your location and you will be able to see from flashing lights on the collar that the alert message has been received.

What is the yellow button for?
This is the system test button.

It will illuminate the three LED indicator lights just above the button when pressed. These lights represent the battery level, GPS signal strength and GSM signal strength. This allows the user to assess the performance of the device locally. If all the lights are green then the signal strength is good and locked on; amber is not so good, but possibly still functional, and red is a sign that there is no signal in the area or battery power is low.

Will the collar fit all dogs?
The collar comes in several adjustable sizes but is not suitable for very small or slender dogs with necks of less than about 13.5 inches, about 36cm.

The collar can be adjusted whilst unlatched but once latched it cannot be adjusted to stop anyone extending it and slipping it over your dog‚s head.

What if there is a software fault?
The units on the collar are sealed in a special manufacturing process to ensure waterproofing. All of the components are within the collar and once sealed it cannot be reopened for repair. However if there is a fault in the software we can interrogate the collar using our communication system to establish the cause and then provide a fix by downloading it over the air. You will not need to return the product to us in these circumstances.

Service Providers & Coverage

Coverage

The device communicates using GSM (mobile phone) and GPRS (data transmission) networks. Our telecoms provider in the UK is Orange Telecoms. As long as the product is used in an area with Orange network coverage it will work. We are currently working with distribution partners on opening other markets across Europe, North American and Australasia.

GPS coverage is available virtually everywhere, though performance can be limited by being inside buildings or under dense foliage.

RF is short range but will work anywhere provided you have an appropriate receiver. Please contact us for further details.

Is there a contract?
There is no contract as we have found that once people have bought and used the collar, it becomes an indispensible item in the peace of mind it provides to the family in looking after and protecting their dog.

I live in a remote area, – what about phone coverage?
The Retrieva Collars use an Orange Sim card and it is possible to check how comprehensive the coverage is in your area by checking the Orange website. It is important to note that the signal strength required for a SMS text message is less than that required for voice calls so it is possible that messages will get sent where voice calls may not.

For the mapping panel and internet access by phone you will need to ensure that your area has the requisite 3G transmission capability. Local phone shops will know the status of this.

Can I provide my own SIM card?
For retail customers the products are sealed at manufacture to ensure they stay watertight, and so it is not possible to accommodate and administer different SIM cards providers.

In exceptional circumstances we can provide a collar with a Sim from an alternative carrier. We can also provide collars for international customers with local Sim cards for their location. For this we reserve the right to charge an additional fee as these collars will not form part of a standard production run.

Why is there a monthly charge?
For 3 reasons:

  • The collar uses the same technologies as a mobile phone and each one has its own unique phone number to which you send and receive messages and instructions. The monthly charge covers all of the communication costs from the collar to your phone.
  • Access to the web based mapping panel which provides significant additional live tracking capability.
  • Software upgrades and product support. All devices can be upgraded over the air and new software can be loaded onto them without the need to return the product.

Could there be additional charges?
The monthly charge should cover all the requirements for the use of the collar in normal circumstances and for the purpose for which it is intended.

We also recognise that the Retrieva collar and trackers will be used by professional dog handlers in a variety of situations and this may require significant additional air-time and messaging capability. Charging structures may therefore change for professional use and may need to be negotiated separately.

Will it work everywhere?
GPS is a global system and should work everywhere provided the collar has a view of the sky for satellite connection. GSM relies on telecom coverage which is improving all the time, but as we all know, there are still areas where connection is difficult. RF technology is short range and will work to a certain extent within buildings and underground.

Mapping

Web and phone based mapping software continues to improve and Retrieva are focussed on delivering the best solution for finding your dog. Uniquely the Retrieva system gives a choice of how you can find your dog and we recognise that some people want a phone solution whilst others may wish to use a computer.

Viewranger Ordnance Survey phone mapping software.
This can be downloaded to an increasing number of smart-phones and provides the topographical off-road detail that is vita in finding a dog the software can also identify your location and will show the speed and direction of travel of the dog.

Google and Google Earth.
Using various smart phones as well as accessing the Retrieva Web panel you can also use the incredible satellite imagery from Google Earth to locate and track your dog live.

Why Retrieva rather than the competition?
There are significant advantages afforded by the Retrieva collar over any other dog tracking product. These include:

  1. Integrated design that includes automated tamper and anti–theft alerts
  2. Lockable and anti–cut webbing and material
  3. Significant battery life enhancement
  4. Can be completely controlled by a mobile phone
  5. Can report to, and plot itself on topographical phone–based mapping (see www.Viewranger.com for a full list of applicable handsets and countries)
  6. Can plot both your location and that of your dog onto phone–based mapping (when using a GPS enabled phone)
  7. Can report its location to web–based mapping
  8. A wide range of automated alerts – including left and arrived home, low or flat battery, panic alert, safe perimeter violation on the mapping panel.
  9. Incorporates 3 types of tracking technology compared with just 1 or 2 for our competitors
  10. Waterproof to IP67 standards – means your dog CAN go swimming with it on!
  11. Quad band modem for international coverage
  12. Panic button with location message for the owner should they need to alert friends or family of an incident
  13. Has 3 types of virtual fence alert –
    • Home based (it can tell you when it leaves or arrives home),
    • location based (lets you know if your dog moves a given distance from its current location – e.g. when you leave the dog in a car for a short while) and
    • map based (alerts you if your dog enters or leaves an area defined on a web-based map)
  14. Has LED based performance feedback
  15. Optimised sky–view antenna placement to maximise performance
  16. Upgradeable 'over the air' so that any enhancements can be automatically downloaded onto the device rather than having to send it back to Retrieva.

Is there a warranty?
Yes – there is a one year manufacturer’s warranty on the product.