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Dog whisperer alert: this AKC affiliated smart collar helps you stay in touch

Bruce Brown
Combining GPS technology with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi the Link AKC dog collar may be the ultimate pet tracker. There are lots of possibilities with this device, including training aids plus audible and visual signals.

If you’re a dog lover, here’s possibly the ultimate connectivity accessory. The Link AKC smart collar has four on-board wireless technologies that almost ensure your dog will never be lost.

Developed under license with the American Kennel Club, which is also an investor in the company, the Link AKC smart collar has on-board GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and cell phone technology. You connect with the collar via an iOS or Android app that lets you monitor your pet’s activity and track its location. You can even turn on an app-controlled LED light on the collar to help you locate your dog and to help your canine friend see in the dark.

Related: Will developing technology really let you talk to your dog?

The components in the Link AKC include the collar itself, the tracking unit with a separate collar carrier that slides onto the collar to hold the tracker, a base station charger, and the smartphone app. The collar is made of smooth latigo leather, a quality tanning combination that produces strong, flexible hides.

The curved tracking unit and carrier can also fit standard collars if you wish to use your own. Unlike most GPS units, the curved shape of the Link AKC unit is more comfortable for the dog and less susceptible to getting caught on branches or bushes when your dog frolics in the fields, woods, or trails.

The tracking unit’s lithium-ion battery holds a charge for up to three days, after which you need to recharge it in the base unit. The base station has an extra USB port so you could make it a nightly routine to plug in your phone and the Link AKC tracking unit so both are always ready.

With the Link AKC app, you can set alerts so you’ll be notified if your dog gets loose. You’ll also be able to track your pet’s location with the app. The collar has a temperature sensor that enables you to set heat or cold alerts and there’s also an app-activated sound that could work for training some dogs. With dogs that like to be coy and hide for fun, especially when you’re in a hurry (been there, got the t-shirt), the sound can also help you locate the dog so you both can get going.

Neither you (nor your dog) need to be members of or registered with the AKC to use the Link AKC smart collar. In addition to the $199 purchase price, there’s a monthly cellular data service fee that’s as low as $7 a month with a two-year plan (paid annually), $8 a month for one year (again, paid annually) or a $10 month-to-month plan. The system comes with a 30-day money back guarantee as long as the components are returned undamaged.

The Link AKC collar is available in four sizes. If you buy one for a puppy, within one year you can upsize one time for the proper fit. According to the company, the adjustable collar has a significant adjustment range within each size.

The Link AKC isn’t available yet, but is expected to ship “as early as December 28, 2016.” The smart collars are available for pre-order now at this site. Credit cards won’t be charged until the collar ships.

For some dog owners, the Link AKC smart collar could be a fun accessory and for others a reassuring necessity. In either case, if your dog wears this smart collar no other dog in the neighborhood will be more connected.

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