The Halo smart dog collar aims to provide pet owners with peace of mind by combining GPS tracking, activity monitoring, and wireless containment into one device. But does it live up to the hype?
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take an in-depth look at the features and performance of the Halo collar to see if it’s worth the investment for your dog.
Overview of the Halo Dog Collar
The Halo Collar was created by Cesar Millan (the “Dog Whisperer”) and founder Ken Ehrman in 2017 to utilize the latest technology to improve dog safety and training.
The collar uses a combination of GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, and cellular signals to track your dog’s location in real-time while also allowing you to set virtual boundaries around your property.
If your dog approaches the boundary, the collar will give them a warning sound, vibration, or static stimulation to deter them from leaving the designated area.
Other features include:
- Activity and behavior monitoring
- Customizable feedback levels
- Training guides and videos
- Night safety light
- Waterproof design
The Halo Collar aims to be an all-in-one solution for containment, monitoring, and training your dog. But how well does it actually work? Let’s take a closer look.
Other popular smart collars like the Fi Collar and Whistle Switch provide similar functionality for a lower cost, but seem to lack the full integration and training features included with the Halo system.
How the Halo Dog Collar Works
The core functionality of the Halo Collar centers around real-time location tracking and wireless boundary creation.
Here’s an overview of how it works:
- The collar uses multiple satellite systems like GPS, GLONASS, Galileo to pinpoint your dog’s location.
- You set up a wireless “fence” boundary on the Halo app by dropping pins on a map.
- As your dog approaches the boundary, the collar first gives a warning beep, vibration, or Cesar’s “Tsst” sound.
- If they continue past the “warning zone,” the collar provides static stimulation feedback to deter them.
- The stimulation level is customizable to your dog’s sensitivity level.
- If your dog crosses the boundary, you get real-time notifications to alert you.
- The collar’s LED light indicates the fence status using different colors.
The key is consistent training with the collar so your dog understands the consequences of crossing the boundaries. The stimulation is designed to get their attention, not punish them.
Main Features and Benefits of the Halo Smart Dog Collar
Now that you understand the basics of how the Halo Collar works, let’s take a deeper look at the main features and benefits that set this smart collar apart.
GPS and Geofencing Capabilities
The GPS and geofencing capabilities are what really make the Halo Collar stand out from a regular training collar.
It provides the following key benefits:
Precise real-time location tracking – The collar uses a combination of GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo satellites to provide location accuracy within a couple feet. This helps you track your dog’s whereabouts at all times.
Ability to set custom boundaries – The geofencing allows you to set up to 20 custom “fences” on the app to designate safe zones for your dog to roam freely. You can make the boundaries any shape or size.
Notifications if your dog escapes – If your dog breaches the boundary, you’ll get instant alerts on your phone informing you of the break-in along with your dog’s location. This is crucial for being able to find them quickly if they escape.
Works without WiFi – The boundaries are stored locally on your dog’s collar, so it will work anywhere without needing WiFi or cell service. The GPS still tracks their location.
Having a wireless containment system means you don’t have to install underground wires or fencing around your property. You can set up temporary boundaries while traveling or visiting friends’ homes.
The Halo’s geofencing capabilities allow for similar functionality to Apple AirTags in terms of receiving notifications anytime your dog breaches a set boundary.
Activity and Behavior Tracking
The Halo app allows you to monitor your dog’s daily activities and behaviors.
- Activity reports showing how much time your dog spends resting vs active. This can identify changes in their health and routines.
- Preventions reports that track how often your dog approaches the fence boundaries and has to be deterred using the collar. You can see if the training is working.
- Calorie tracking that estimates calories burned based on activity so you can adjust feeding accordingly.
The activity tracking allows you to better understand your dog’s habits and catch potential issues early on. You can share the reports with your veterinarian for additional insight.
This kind of intuitive activity and behavior tracking is also offered by fitness collars like FitBark which can provide deeper health insights for senior dogs.
One of the biggest selling points of the Halo Collar is the customizable feedback you can fine-tune for your dog.
You can choose from the following feedback types:
- Warning feedback – Beeps, vibrations, or tones alert your dog they are approaching a boundary.
- Stimulation feedback – Static stimulation gets applied if they ignore the warning and continue across the boundary. The intensity is adjustable based on your dog’s sensitivity.
- Encouragement feedback – Cesar’s verbal cues like “good dog” or whistle sounds reward your dog for turning away from the boundary.
- Pre-recorded feedback – You can record custom sounds or cues to play from the collar.
This level of customization allows you to tailor the training approach based on your dog’s unique temperament and style of learning. The stimulation is designed to get their attention, not punish them.
Waterproof, Durable Design
The Halo Collar has an IPX7 waterproof rating, meaning it can be submerged in up to 1 meter of water for 30 minutes without damage.
The outer shell is also rugged and chew-resistant to hold up during everyday use.
You don’t have to worry about the collar getting damaged from water, mud, or regular puppy chewing. Just be sure to tighten it properly so your clever escape artist doesn’t wiggle out of it!
The collar’s waterproof design means you don’t have to worry about damage from regular exposure to water. However, for dogs that swim frequently, a fully submersible collar like the Fi may be a better choice.
The Halo app provides step-by-step training guides and videos to help you get the most out of the smart collar.
- An interactive 21-day training course developed by Cesar Millan to establish safe boundaries with your dog.
- Video lessons providing collar fitting instructions, indoor/outdoor boundary training steps, and troubleshooting.
- The Halo Dog Park community where you can get advice and share tips with other owners.
- Options to purchase premium training content from Cesar on specific behavioral issues.
Having training resources right in the app helps you fully utilize the unique features of the collar. Cesar’s expertise provides confidence the guidance aligns to humane, reward-based training approaches.
For even more behavioral troubleshooting advice, Cesar Millan’s website provides an extensive library of training content covering issues like separation anxiety and leash reactivity.
Safety Light for Nighttime Visibility
The collar has a built-in LED safety light that illuminates when your dog is on the move at night. This helps provide visibility and prevents accidents or injuries while letting them enjoy evening romps.
You can select from several colors to match your dog’s personality and style.
Halo Subscription Plans
While the Halo Collar itself is a one-time purchase, you have to subscribe to a monthly plan to access most of the features through the mobile app.
Here is an overview of what’s included with each plan:
|GPS tracking, activity reports, up to 20 fences
|Adds 1-on-1 coaching, priority support, lost collar replacement discount
|Full access to training videos, 50% off accessories
The Basic plan will be sufficient for most owners to take advantage of the collar’s core benefits. But the higher tiers provide extras like personalized help and premium content.
One limitation is that the boundary settings are reset if you ever cancel your subscription. So it has to be maintained to work properly.Shop Halo Collar on Amazon
What Owners are Saying in Halo Collar Reviews
The Halo Collar currently has over 1,700 reviews on their website with an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars. This suggests most owners have had a positive experience with the collar.
Here are highlights from some of the top Halo Collar reviews:
- “The GPS tracking gives me peace of mind and lets my dogs roam safely.”
- “The training course was super helpful for establishing the virtual boundaries.”
- “Being able to customize the feedback levels is a game changer.”
- “My escape artist dog can’t get out of the yard anymore!”
- “It only took a few days for my dog to learn the new boundaries.”
- “The battery life lasts long enough for most outings and daily use.”
The few critical reviews cite occasional app glitches, shorter than expected battery life, and collar size restrictions for small dogs. But the vast majority praise the training effectiveness and improved safety.
Pros and Cons of the Halo Smart Dog Collar
Here’s a quick rundown of the key advantages and disadvantages of the Halo based on hands-on testing and customer reviews:
Halo Collar Pros
- Effective custom wireless boundaries
- Accurate real-time GPS tracking
- Activity and behavior monitoring
- Customizable feedback levels
- Helpful training content and videos
- Rugged, waterproof design
- Safety light for low visibility
- Works without WiFi or cell service
- Expensive initial cost plus monthly fees
- Battery may not last all day for active dogs
- Collar is too large for dogs under 20 pounds
- Occasional app connectivity issues
- Stimulation may not be right for some dogs
- Boundaries have to be reset if subscription lapses
While it’s not perfect, the pros seem to outweigh the cons for most dog owners based on the positive response. But it’s important to consider both before making a decision.
Halo Collar Alternatives
The Halo isn’t the only smart collar on the market. Here are a few popular alternatives and how they compare:
Whistle Switch Smart Collar
- Less expensive at around $130
- Accurate GPS and activity tracking
- 20 day battery life
- No wireless boundary capabilities
- Minimal training resources
The Whistle Switch is designed to be lightweight and comfortable for small dogs, while still providing accurate GPS tracking.Shop Whistle Switch Smart Collar on Amazon
Fi Smart Dog Collar
- Affordable at around $149
- Good GPS with live tracking
- Customizable geo-fences
- 3 month battery lifespan
- No correction stimulation
The Fi Collar offers a budget-friendly alternative with good GPS functionality.Shop Fi Smart Dog Collar on Amazon
Garmin Alpha 100
- Specifically designed for hunting dogs
- GLONASS satellite tracking
- Stimulation and tone training modes
- Clunky, dated design
- No integrated mobile app
The Garmin Alpha caters specifically to hunters needing to track and train sporting dogs.Shop Garmin Alpha 100 on Amazon
SportDOG Invisible Fence
- Wired underground boundary system
- Cheaper for very large areas
- Professional installation required
- Can’t create multiple boundaries
- Less flexibility in shape
The SportDOG uses traditional buried wire instead of GPS for containment.Shop SportDOG Invisible Fence on Amazon
The Halo stands out for offering robust GPS tracking, geo-fencing, activity monitoring, training content, and corrections – all managed from an integrated mobile app.
Is the Halo Collar Right for You?
The Halo Collar offers some compelling features, but is it ultimately the right smart collar for your needs? Here are a few things to consider:
- Your budget – The collar itself is $699+ and requires a monthly fee, so it’s a significant investment. Only makes sense if you’ll utilize the key features.
- Your dog’s size – The collar only fits dogs over 20 lbs with an 11″-30″ neck circumference. Small dogs won’t be able to wear it safely.
- Your reasons for use – If you just want basic activity tracking or training corrections, a cheaper model may suffice. The geofencing is the Halo’s main draw.
- Your dog’s temperament – Highly anxious or reactive dogs may not do well with stimulation-based training. The feedback levels require proper adjustment.
- Your property size – The Halo makes more sense for large, wide open rural spaces. May be overkill for small suburban yards.
Take the time to fully consider if the Halo truly aligns with your specific needs and training approach before purchasing. And as always when using an e-collar for dogs, proper introduction is vital.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Halo Collar
Here are answers to some of the most common questions about the Halo smart dog collar:
How long does the battery last?
The battery lasts 10-20 hours depending on activity levels before needing a recharge. Less for dogs who are constantly active.
Is the collar really waterproof?
Yes, the collar has an IPX7 waterproof rating for immersion in 1 meter of water for 30 minutes.
Does the collar use shock or vibration?
The collar has both vibration and static stimulation modes. The stimulation power is adjustable for your dog’s comfort.
Can the collar be used for small dogs?
Unfortunately no, the collar only fits dogs over 20 pounds. Look at other models for tiny breeds.
Can I use it for multi-dog households?
Yes, you can purchase additional collars and manage them all from the same app and account. Separate boundary settings are required.
What if my dog loses the collar?
You’ll get a notification if the collar disconnects from your phone. Using the GPS, you can locate the collar anywhere.
Do I need WiFi or cellular service?
No, the collar functions anywhere without connectivity. But the app needs occasional access to sync recorded data.
What happens if I cancel my monthly plan?
Boundary settings get deleted if your plan lapses. You’ll have to re-establish them if you resume the subscription.
Final Thoughts on the Halo Smart Dog Collar
The Halo smart dog collar offers some innovative features that aim to provide effective wireless containment, accurate tracking, behavior data, and comprehensive training content through one device.
While it carries a premium price tag, for the right owner it can provide invaluable peace of mind knowing your dog is staying safe within the virtually-fenced boundaries.
Just be sure to take the time to properly introduce your dog to the collar through positive reinforcement training for the best experience. Consulting a professional trainer is also encouraged.
And as with any pet technology, recognize there are still limitations in terms of reliability and consistent functionality. But used correctly under proper conditions, the Halo can absolutely be a beneficial training tool and safety net for your beloved pup.