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Halo Dog Collar Review

To say that the Halo dog collar is revolutionary is an understatement, and the technology behind it has changed how we think about dog training and keeping our furry best friends safe. It doesn’t hurt to know that Cesar Milan is behind the project, too. But at a price tag of almost $1,000, we must ask ourselves, is it worth it? We did our homework, and here’s our review of the Halo dog collar.

The Halo dog collar has incredible and game-changing features, like tracking your dogs while running free and stopping them from going where they shouldn’t. But the collar is still in its infancy and isn’t perfect yet. There are occasional GPS problems, though software updates resolve many issues.

Spending a few months with the Halo is an eye-opening experience and a rollercoaster ride. Some parts of using Halo means never wanting to use anything else again. But the technology has some definite teething problems, so we can’t honestly say everything about it is good. Let’s compare Halo’s features, both the good and the bad.

What Makes The Halo Dog Collar Unique?

Most people compare the Halo dog collar with invisible fence collars, and though that’s not a bad comparison, there are vast differences between the two.

Standard invisible fence collars work by placing markers, usually buried underground, to indicate the boundary. The collar detects the dog’s proximity to the markers and gives it a warning signal to show that it should turn around.

The problem with these invisible fences is that you can only use them in one place. When you take your dog along for a holiday with the rest of the family, it’s time to use the leash again.

This is the aspect that was game-changing for us. The Halo is a GPS collar, which means there are no markers to indicate the boundary. You point out where the dog can move by tapping on a map in the Halo app.

As a family who likes to spend time in nature, going on hikes or exploring the countryside, we want to take our dog with us, but the leash can be inconvenient. With Halo, we can take the dog along and indicate a new boundary wherever we go.

The Halo also comes with a few tags that you can place in strategic spots within your boundary where you don’t want the dog to go, like the trashcans or any dangerous areas. When the dog gets close to a tag, the collar will tell it to move away.

Another tremendous benefit is that Halo allows you to pinpoint your dog’s location (within a few feet) through the app, so you never have to worry about where your dogs are; you can just find them using your smartphone.

The Experience Of Using Halo

The Halo collar has come a long way since it was first introduced. The current iteration, the Halo 2+, fixed many of the problems of its predecessors, both in terms of functionality and manufacturing quality.

The Halo’s Manufacturing Quality

One of the common complaints people had with previous versions of Halo was that the collar broke quickly, so this was of some concern as I tried to use it with my heavy-chewing pup.

For some background, no collar we’ve ever tried on her lasted more than 10 minutes. She would somehow get some part of the collar in her mouth, defying all the laws of physics, and have the collar in tatters before we knew what was happening. So, spending close to $1,000 with the possibility of seeing it in pieces in an hour was a little harrowing.

However, it seems that Halo listened to its customers’ complaints with the Halo 2+. The Halo is made of rugged thermoplastic elastomer, a highly durable rubber, with a TPU-coated rubberized nylon strap and an ultra-strength plastic grip mechanism. Even our razor-toothed contortionist of a dog could not chew through it, despite having had ample opportunity to do so.

The collar is water resistant up to three feet (just below one meter) and works well in different weather conditions, so your pup will have to work very hard to destroy it.

The Halo 2+ seems to have fixed the breaking problem effectively. From our own experience and those of online reviewers, the manufacturing quality is much higher than that of previous models.

The Dog And The Halo

The next question is, how do dogs cope with the collar? Of course, Halo is not a standard collar and is quite a bit larger than most, though it’s not extremely heavy. The fact that the strap comes in different sizes helps because you can get one that will fit your dog the best.

However, from our experience, it’s not the strap that takes some getting used to but the bulkier Halo smart device. If a dog is accustomed to wearing a standard collar, it may still have some issues when you put the Halo on. The size of the unit seems to bother them a bit. Luckily this doesn’t last for too long, and as you go through the training process, they tend to get used to it fairly quickly.

Training With Cesar Milan

The Halo comes with a training course by Cesar Milan, the dog whisperer. Its purpose is to teach the dog (and the owner) how the Halo collar works. Since the collar gives the dog sensory warnings when it approaches boundaries or no-go zones, you must train the dog on what those warnings mean and how it should respond.

The training takes approximately three weeks, but our pup responded well to the collar within the first ten days. We still completed the training program, though, and we recommend you do the same.

The Halo isn’t a shock collar. It gives audio feedback as beeps to warn the dog that they are getting close to a no-go zone. If the dog persists, the collar will eventually emit a pulse-like vibrating sensation, telling the dog to return. The feeling isn’t painful, but your dog will learn what it means through the training.

Using The Halo Collar And App

The system is very user-friendly. It’s easy to figure out and work with, and you can change the settings and boundaries effortlessly using the Halo smartphone app. The Halo app will open up a satellite image of your location that you can zoom into and tap on the areas where you want to set the boundaries. It’s one of the most straightforward interfaces we’ve seen in a similar device yet.

Apart from the older versions that were prone to breaking, another concern on some older models was a lack of connectivity. The Halo uses Bluetooth to sync data like boundaries between your phone and the collar, and Bluetooth can be a bit temperamental. You have a very short range, so when your dog is out and about, it’s natural that you will lose connectivity from time to time.

Bluetooth Issues Of Previous Models

Most of the Bluetooth connection problems were fixed with the Halo 2+ and some consequent software updates, but the fact remains that Bluetooth is not Wi-Fi. When you’re syncing or need to update something on the collar, remove the Halo or keep your dog close while you’re doing it. This is a Bluetooth limitation, not a problem with the Halo.

It’s also crucial to note that the Halo can only pair with one smartphone, and if you want it to connect to a second phone, you must unpair it from the other one first. That would have been great to know before we factory reset our second phone because it seemed like its Bluetooth wasn’t working.

Slight GPS Issues

On the GPS side, the Halo has some issues that are common to all GPS devices. Since GPS relies on a connection with satellite positioning systems, anything that can break that connection will also cause problems with the Halo.

We’ve found that taking our dog to densely-wooded areas, or going out on very cloudy days, caused some erratic behavior in the Halo’s positioning system. Our dog would suddenly get warnings even though she was still some distance away from the boundary.

We also had some trouble pinpointing her exact location on the app a few times because the app would show where she had been a few seconds ago, while the Halo lost connection with the satellites for a short time.

None of these were absolute deal-breakers since Halo still works perfectly 99% of the time. But there is another concern: battery life.

Battery Life

The Halo collar should last around 20 hours on a single charge, though the manufacturer states that this depends on the firmware version and how often you use the app, syncing information between the phone and the collar.

From our experience using the Halo app for standard syncing and tracking, the battery lasts closer to 12 hours on a charge. This is still good for one-day outings with your dog, but if you’re going out and you’re unsure of how long it will be before you can charge it again, it’s not the worst idea to take a leash with you as a backup, just to be safe.

How Does Halo Compare To The Competition?

The best alternative to the Halo collar is the SpotOn GPS SmartFence Collar. It works in a very similar way, but there are a few distinct differences.

SpotOn arrived on the scene before Halo, so it’s had more time to perfect its product. However, the Halo 2+ has improved in leaps and bounds over the first version, so even though it may not have been much of a competition initially, it’s become more challenging to choose a winner.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the two collars:

Halo 2+

SpotOn

Price

±$1,000

±$1,500

Paid subscription required

Yes

No

Comes with all accessories

Yes

Yes

    Number Of GPS Connections

2

4

Number of fence posts

Up to 20 manually placed posts

Up to 1,500 automatically placed posts

Location update frequency

Every 15 seconds

Every 6 seconds

The Halo compares favorably with the SpotOn collar in many ways, but not all of them. The main differences are:

Halo requires a monthly or annual subscription over and above the selling price. SpotOn works without a subscription, though subscriptions are available if you want added features.

The Halo supports two GPS technologies, while SpotOn supports four. This means there’s a higher likelihood that the SpotOn collar will maintain its connection with low satellite visibility.

SpotOn allows you to place more fence posts and even create overlapping boundaries. The Halo is far more limited in this regard, though few people would ever need 1,500 fence posts.

The Halo updates your dog’s location every 15 seconds, while SpotOn updates every 6 seconds. This is quite a sizeable difference considering that an energetic dog can go far in 9 seconds.

However, we must keep the price difference in mind when comparing the two. As much as it pained me to spend $1,000 on the Halo, the $1,500 price tag of the SpotOn collar is far worse. Sure, it has more features than the Halo, but will you ever use those features to the extent that they will justify an additional $500? That’s something you will have to decide for yourself.

Halo Dog Collar: The Pros And Cons

The Halo has advantages and disadvantages; understanding both is crucial to ensure you know what you’re getting into when you buy it.

Advantages

You can track your dog’s whereabouts live.

You can set safe boundaries for your dog to roam free.

There are no more frustrating leashes when you take the family out.

The app is easy to use, and configuring the collar is straightforward.

The collar is made of high-quality materials that even an aggressive chewer cannot eat through easily.

The collar is quite comfortable once the dog gets used to it, and you can use different contact tips to ensure comfort.

Dog training from Cesar Milan is included in the package.

You can set different warning intensities for different scenarios.

You can easily set up multiple boundaries or virtual fences depending on where you take your dog.

Regular software updates improve performance, add features, and fix bugs.

Disadvantages

Live location updates depend on clear satellite connectivity, which isn’t always possible where dogs roam.

The warnings can become erratic when the GPS signal isn’t strong enough.

Battery life isn’t as great as it could and should be.

The price of $1,000 is relatively high and not comfortably achievable for many people.

You must pay a monthly subscription over and above the high purchase price.

Conclusion

The Halo dog collar is expensive, but it’s worth it for any dog lover who wants to give their furry friends the freedom to roam safely. It may lack some competitors’ features, but it’s much better than having a standard hidden fence setup, and with the way it’s already improved between the 1 and 2+ versions, we are sure to see even more improvements in the Halo collar.

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