The Wagz Freedom Smart Collar was once a popular virtual containment and wellness system for dogs. But in August 2022, Wagz ceased operations and shut down service for all existing collars.
This leaves many dog owners searching for a good alternative GPS tracking collar to keep their pups safe. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the now defunct Wagz smart collar, including:
Overview of the Wagz Smart Collar
The Wagz Freedom was a virtual containment and wellness system for dogs. It used real-time GPS tracking to monitor your dog’s location via a smartphone app.
The collar didn’t use any wires or installation. You simply mapped out custom geofence boundaries on the app and it would keep your dog within the designated “safe zone”.
If your dog crossed the virtual boundary, the collar used audible tones, ultrasonic sounds, and vibrations to correct them instead of shock. This was less stressful for dogs.
It also tracked your dog’s daily activity like steps and sleep, and monitored wellness stats through the app.
The Freedom model was Wagz’s flagship product before the company shuttered in 2022. It offered an affordable, entry-level GPS tracking system compared to pricier collars.
Key Features and Capabilities
The Wagz smart collar had the following key features and capabilities:
Real-Time GPS Tracking
- View your dog’s location in real-time on a map via the app
- Locate your dog when lost or hiding
- Has 10-15 foot margin of error
- Create virtual fences to contain your dog safely at home
- Define any boundaries and safe zones on the app’s map
- Keeps your dog within set boundaries
- Uses audible tones, ultrasonic sounds, and vibrations to correct dogs
- Avoids using any painful or stressful shock
- Collar needed proper training for dogs to respond to corrections
Activity & Health Tracking
- Tracks steps, exercise, sleep and other activity
- Monitors wellness and gives notifications for irregularities
- Can help identify potential health issues early
Long Battery Life
- Lasts 24-48 hours depending on usage
- Comes with two removable rechargeable batteries
- Can buy extended “boost” battery for 66+ hours
Waterproof & Rugged
- Fully waterproof, can be submerged up to 30 minutes
- Durable casing resists dust, mud, dirt, etc.
LED Safety Light
- Can activate a light on the collar to make your dog visible
- Free app for iOS and Android to control collar
- Easy to set up and use for most owners
- Manage settings, boundaries, track data
The Pros and Cons of Wagz
- Affordable price compared to competitors
- Real-time GPS tracking worked decently
- Custom geofences easy to set up
- Non-shock corrections kinder to dogs
- Good battery life with replaceable batteries
- Rugged and waterproof
- Monitored activity and health stats
- Overall simple to set up and use
- Location tracking had 10-15 ft margin of error
- Geofences and tracking could be inconsistent
- Smaller yards not optimal for accuracy
- Collar needed training for dogs to respond
- App limited in settings and controls
- Monthly subscription fee required
- Customer service criticized before shutdown
While the Wagz smart collar worked pretty well for an affordable GPS tracking collar, it did have some drawbacks. The location tracking wasn’t super precise and the geofences could be glitchy. It also required training time for conditioning dogs properly to the correcting signals.
But many owners were satisfied with the basic features it offered in an entry-level product. It served a great niche before the company went under.
How Wagz Compared to Other Smart Collars
The biggest competitors for the Wagz smart collar were:
- Halo Collar – More expensive but offered better tracking accuracy and more advanced app. Overall higher quality product.
- Fi Smart Collar – Similarly priced, also had some inconsistencies with geofences and corrections. But worked decently.
- Whistle – Known for excellent GPS tracking but more limited geofence capabilities. Higher monthly fees.
- Findster Duo+ – Good value with long battery life. But bulkier design and 2-part system.
The Wagz filled its niche as a budget-friendly smart collar with the core features most owners wanted. It couldn’t compete on precision and consistency with premium brands like Halo. But it got the job done fairly well for more casual pet owners who didn’t require perfection.
If you wanted the best accuracy and performance available, Halo was the top choice despite its steep price. But for a good balance of value and functionality, Wagz was a solid option while it lasted.
Why Did Wagz Shut Down?
In August 2022, Wagz released a notice that it was ceasing operations and shutting down service for all existing collars due to financial troubles.
While the exact reasons are unclear, the smart pet tech market became increasingly competitive in recent years. Higher-end brands likely ate into Wagz’s market share.
Operating and maintaining the cellular service and infrastructure for the collars also carries high ongoing costs. This may have become unsustainable with their business model.
The company had also received some criticism about glitches with the product and customer service issues. These likely contributed to financial struggles over time.
For whatever reason, Wagz ultimately lacked the resources and viability to continue operating. It’s an unfortunate outcome, but the realities of building a sustainable business around consumer smart collars proved too difficult.
What to Do If You Have a Wagz Collar
If you currently own a Wagz Freedom smart collar, the bad news is it no longer functions as of August 2022 when service was discontinued.
Your collar is essentially “bricked” now without the backbone connectivity and support. You’ll need to purchase a replacement smart collar or tracking system.
Wagz stated that all current and prospective customers would have services deactivated within 24-48 hours back in August 2022. So any remaining collars should be non-operational now.
Don’t rely on the Wagz collar anymore for containment or tracking your dog. It cannot be depended on. Remove the dormant collar and switch to a new reliable solution.
Ideally, you should have received an email notice about the shut down if you were an existing customer. But many users reported not getting any notice and their collars just stopped working.
While this shutdown is highly inconvenient for owners who relied on the Wagz collars, new modern alternatives that have risen in popularity can now take its place.
The Best Wagz Alternatives for 2024
If you’re now looking for a new GPS smart collar to replace your defunct Wagz, here are the top options to consider in 2024:
1. Halo Collar
The Halo Collar is widely considered the highest quality and most advanced dog tracking collar available today. It’s substantially more expensive than Wagz was, but delivers best-in-class accuracy and capabilities.
- Precision real-time location tracking within inches
- Most reliable virtual fences
- Full app dashboard and custom alerts
- Activity and health monitoring
- Training guide included for dogs
- Rugged, waterproof design
- Industry-leading 5 year warranty
The premium features come at a cost — $995 for the collar, antenna, and subscription plan. But devoted pet owners find the investment worthwhile for Halo’s exceptional performance and reliability.
It also uses positive reinforcement tones for training instead of any shock or punishment. If you’re willing to pay more for the “Rolls Royce” of smart collars, Halo delivers.Shop Halo Collar on Amazon
2. SpotOn Collar
SpotOn offers robust tracking and virtual fencing in a streamlined smart collar package. It’s become a top seller for its excellent value / performance ratio.
- Accurate real-time GPS tracking
- Customizable geofences
- Vibration and tone training
- Activity monitoring and reporting
- Good battery life
- Waterproof and rugged
- Functional, easy-to-use app
For a mid-range price of $199-$299, SpotOn hits a sweet spot for budget-conscious shoppers who still want full GPS capabilities. It may not match Halo’s premium precision, but gives you excellent containment and peace of mind.
The brand also guarantees your satisfaction with generous return policies if you don’t like the collar. Overall it’s become a favorite Wagz replacement.Shop SpotOn Collar on Amazon
3. Findster Duo+
While Findster took a different approach with its two-piece modular design, the Duo+ model provides reliable tracking at a very competitive price.
- Accurate location tracking up to 3 miles
- Virtual fences with custom shapes
- No monthly fees required
- Two collars included in box
- 100 hour + battery life per charge
- 1 year warranty included
Priced around $160, the Findster Duo+ gives you solid basic performance without all the bells and whistles. It uses radar technology instead of GPS satellites, but many owners are very satisfied with the real-world results.
If you want to replace your Wagz without breaking the bank, definitely check out Findster’s affordable and straightforward system.Shop Findster Duo+ on Amazon
Frequently Asked Questions
What was the Wagz smart collar?
The Wagz Freedom was a virtual containment and wellness system for dogs. It used real-time GPS tracking and custom geofences set via a smartphone app to monitor and contain your dog safely at home.
How did the Wagz smart collar work?
The collar connected to a cellular network to provide real-time location tracking. Owners mapped out virtual boundaries on the Wagz app. If dogs crossed the invisible fence, the collar issued audible, ultrasonic and vibration corrections.
What features did the Wagz collar have?
Key features included real-time GPS tracking, customizable geofences, activity/health monitoring, app control, tone and vibration corrections, waterproof casing, safety light, and long battery life.
Why did Wagz shut down?
In August 2022, Wagz ceased operations and shut off all existing collars due to unspecified financial troubles. Increased market competition likely contributed.
Can I still use my Wagz collar?
No, all Wagz collars were deactivated in August 2022. The collars no longer function without the discontinued backend service support.
What’s the best Wagz alternative?
Top GPS collar replacements for Wagz are Halo (premium option), SpotOn (great value), and Findster Duo+ (budget price). Each offer similar virtual fence capabilities. For an in-depth feature comparison see how Wagz stacks up against the Wagz vs Halo and Wagz vs SpotOn to understand the key differences.
Is the Halo collar worth the high price?
For owners wanting maximum accuracy and premium features, Halo delivers excellent performance and reliability. But the nearly $1000 price is steep for many buyers.
Do I need a subscription for a GPS collar?
Often yes, many collars require a monthly subscription fee to access tracking services and app functionality. But some alternatives like Findster have no recurring fees.
How do I pick the right smart collar?
Consider budget, feature needs, reliability, battery life, training methods, accessories, warranty, return policy, and customer reviews/experiences before choosing.
What are the best GPS collars for dogs?
Top-rated smart dog collars in 2024 are Halo, SpotOn, Findster Duo+, Whistle, Fi, and Garmin. Each balances pricing and key functionality like tracking, geofences, and corrections differently.
Final Recommendations for Picking a GPS Dog Collar
When choosing a new smart GPS collar to replace your discontinued Wagz model, keep these tips in mind:
- Consider your budget – Premium collars like Halo provide the highest accuracy but cost significantly more than most options. Decide how much you’re willing to spend.
- Check the monthly fees – Many collars require an ongoing subscription fee. Make sure to calculate the long-term costs.
- Read lots of user reviews – Don’t rely purely on brand claims. Look for real customer experiences to gauge effectiveness.
- Prioritize reliability and consistency – Many cheaper collars have issues with connectivity and glitches. Don’t gamble on an unreliable product.
- Think hard about shock correction – While shock collars work for some, they’re controversial. Make an informed decision on training methods.
- Buy from a reputable authorized retailer – Avoid third party sellers on Amazon or eBay to ensure warranty support. Consider issues like finding AirTag owners and AirTags not connecting.
- Look for good return policies – In case the collar doesn’t live up to expectations, you have options to get a refund.
- Read specific product reviews and comparisons.
While no collar is perfect, the newest generation of smart GPS collars provide pet owners with an invaluable tool to keep their dogs safe and monitored. Wagz paved the way as an early budget option, but better technology has now taken its place.
Just remember to shop carefully, read reviews, and select the right balance of features and price-point for your needs. With a small investment of time upfront finding the right product, you’ll avoid any frustrations down the road and can enjoy reliable performance for years to come.