Garmin Alpha 100 Review: Multi Dog GPS Tracking & Training Collar

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The Garmin Alpha 100 is Garmin’s 2 in 1 dog GPS tracking, and training collar system.

In this Garmin Alpha 100 Review we identify the full features, pros and cons to this dog tracking and training system which is expandable to track up to 20 dogs.

It is important to note that the Garmin Alpha 100 is compatible with all three of the T 5, TT 10 and TT 15 dog collar devices, in case you wanted to know if you could use any or a combination of them.

But, let’s take a closer look at who this collar system may or may not be for, along with other important information.

 

(NOTE: this is a general information guide only, and is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. A qualified vet or animal expert is the only person qualified to give you expert advice in regards to your pet/s)

 

Garmin Alpha 100 Review: Multi Dog GPS Tracking & Training Collar

If you want to go straight to viewing the Garmin Alpha 100 , you can do so here:

Garmin Alpha 100 Handheld (on Amazon)

Garmin Alpha 100 (with TT 15 collar) Dog GPS Bundle (on Amazon)

NOTE: if you buy the handheld only, you can buy any of the compatible collars with it to add to the system:

 

Garmin Alpha 100: Review (Handheld Only)

View On Amazon

Something important to note is that the Garmin Alpha 100 is the handheld device itself which controls the TT15 and T 5 collars for example.

This is a review of the Alpha 100 handheld in relation to the collars as a system. 

You can check out the TT15 and TT15 Mini collar review in this guide.

Features

TRACKING

  • It has the capability to track up to 20 dogs or other hunters – from up to 9 miles (TT 15) or 4 miles (TT 15 mini) away
  • It works by receiving signals from additional Alpha 100 handhelds, TT 15 and TT 15 mini dog devices (each sold separately). 
  • It can also receive tracking only signals from a T5 collar device
  • The handheld comes preloaded with TOPO U.S. 100k maps
  • It can measure a dog’s speed and distance travelled
  • It can track the direction your dog is travelling
  • It can receive notifications when your dog is ‘Treed’ or ‘On Point’
  • It updates your dog’s location as often as every 2.5 seconds
  • You can use the handheld and tap the screen with gloves
  • When using a vehicle to find or follow your dogs, the Garmin DriveTrack™ 70 dog tracker and GPS navigator (sold separately) provides an easy-to-watch “big picture” solution. The 7-inch moving map display shows dog positions overlaid on TOPO contours or satellite image views – along with navigation cues that help point you to your dog’s current location.
  • BirdsEye Satellite Imagery (subscription required) is an add on that allows you to have a better-than-real-life view of terrain, including roads, water, woods and more.
  • You can also get the free software – Basecamp. It allows you to view and organize maps, waypoints, routes, and tracks. This free trip-planning software even allows you to create Garmin Adventures that you can share with friends, family or fellow explorers. BaseCamp displays topographic map data in 2-D or 3-D on your computer screen, including contour lines and elevation profiles. It also can transfer an unlimited amount of satellite images to your device when paired with a BirdsEye Satellite Imagery subscription.
  • You also have the option to use your computer as a tracking station. You can load your laptop with BaseStation software to turn it into a field control center for tracking multiple dogs and/or buddies (up to 20 Alpha units, TT 15 or T 5 dog devices). View real-time GPS information on the larger display of your computer, making it ideal for canine search and rescue teams. And because it’s GPS and GLONASS, you’ll get safe, secure and more effective tracking, even where Internet and cell phone service isn’t available.

TRAINING

  • The handheld has the capacity to help you train your dogs separately e.g. to stop chasing unwanted game
  • The static stimulation system has 18 training levels which are 18 different level of stimulation
  • There is the option for continuous and momentary stimulation
  • There is a tone/sound training option
  • There is a vibration training option
  • There is a lockout feature you can enable so that you don’t accidentally activation the static or sound training cues
  • With the stimulation modes – there are actually two to choose from. There is traditional stimulation that allows you to make quick changes (low, medium and high) within a predetermined stimulation level (1 through 6), whereas linear stimulation allows progressively more stimulation from level 1 through level 18. 

HANDHELD PHYSICAL FEATURES

  • Handheld dimensions are 2.5 x 6.5 x 1.5” 
  • Handheld weight is only 8.8 oz
  • Handheld is waterproof to IPX7 – which means it’s submersible in up to 3 feet of water for 30 minutes
  • Handheld display screen is a transflective, 65-K color, TFT touchscreen, and measures 1.53″W x 2.55″H. The resolution is 240 x 400 pixels
  • Comes with rechargeable lithium ion batteries that provide a battery life of up to 20 hours
  • There’s 4.0 GB of memory space on the handheld, and it has a USB interface

MAPS AND MEMORY

  • The handheld has the ability to add maps
  • There are base maps that come with the handheld. Topographic maps are preloaded
  • The maps are stored on a microSD™ card
  • You get up to 4000 waypoints/locations/favorites
  • You get up to 200 routes
  • With the track log, there’s 10,000 points, and 200 saved tracks

SENSORS

  • There’s a baromateric altimeter
  • There’s a tilt compensated 3-axis compass

OTHER OUTDOOR FEATURES

  • There’s the ability to area calculation
  • There’s automatic routing (turn by turn routing on roads)with optional mapping for detailed roads
  • There’s capacity for custom maps
  • You get a hunting/fishing calendar
  • There’s also sun and moon information
  • There’s also the ability to use Garmin connect – an online community to share data and use it

COLLAR SPECIFIC INFO

  • People mainly choose to use the Alpha 100 with the TT15, TT15 Mini, or the T5 collar devices
  • The TT15 models allow tracking and training, whereas the T5 model is tracking only
  • You can extend the battery life of the TT15 models by switching to rescue mode. At 25% battery, the location update of your dog slows down to 2 minutes from 2.5 seconds, to conserve battery.
  • Range from handheld to collars are 9 miles for the TT15, and 4 miles for the TT15 Mini
  • There’s a MURS frequency band for the collars (The T 5, T 5 mini, TT™ 15 and TT 15 mini are only compatible with the Astro® 320 and the Alpha™ 100. The T 5, T 5 mini, TT 15 and TT 15 mini can be configured for operation with either handheld but cannot be tracked simultaneously by both the Astro 320 and the Alpha 100.)
  • You can add up to 20 total collars to the Alpha 100

Drawbacks

  • Very expensive for either the handheld by itself, or even when you add the collars
  • For some people, the handheld could do with increased battery life
  • Learning to use the handheld and collars when you first get them can be a little tricky, but it’s not super complicated. It just takes familiarising yourself
  • You can’t turn off the collar from the handheld
  • You get a belt clip, but it could do with a lanyard as well for the price
  • The on/off button for the handheld could be less sensitive so you don’t accidentally turn it off or on when it’s in your pocket or in the storage bag 
  • Overall, despite the drawbacks, this has to be up there with the most comprehensive and advanced GPS tracking collars on the market

View the Garmin Alpha 100 Handheld on Amazon

 

Garmin Alpha 100: Buyer’s Guide

What Is The Garmin Alpha 100 Designed For?

It is designed mainly for hunters, sports/competition and trainers. It can be used for both tracking and training through:

  • Tracking other people, or up to 20 dogs – you know where you dog/s are at all time
  • Training dogs through static stimulation (shock), vibration or audible/tone – like for example to not grab certain game, or to not do a certain behavior while out in the open

 

Who Might The Garmin Alpha 100 Be For?

  • Hunters, competition dogs, and trainers
  • People with a higher budget for a tracking and training collar system
  • People who want to track and keep location of their dog/s without using a smart phone
  • People who want to train with static, tone and vibration options
  • People who want a system expandable up to 20 dogs
  • People who want perhaps the most comprehensive, advanced and well functioning GPS tracker + trainer on the market

 

Who Might The Garmin Alpha 100 NOT Be For?

  • People looking for a training only collar system
  • People with a lower budget for a tracking and training collar system
  • People looking for a basic dog e collar system

 

What Do You Get In The Garmin Alpha 100 Kit?

It depends, as the Alpha 100 comes in different bundles and kits.

For example, you can get the:

  • Alpha 100 with TT15 Bundle
  • Alpha 100 with TT15 MINI Bundle
  • Alpha 100 Handheld only

If you get just the handheld, and then add the collar yourself, you’ll get:

  • Alpha 100 handheld
  • Rechargeable user-replaceable Li-ion pack
  • Belt clip
  • Extended range antenna
  • AC adapter
  • Vehicle power cable
  • USB cable
  • Split adapter cable

In the bundles you’ll get the collar receiver, collar strap, collar charger, short and long contact points, manuals and sometimes a field bag to hold the collar.

 

What Might Be The Best Way To Use An E Collar On A Dog?

For professional advice on using a shock or e collar, see a vet or a professional dog trainer, or animals expert.

But, in general, good e collars come with instruction manuals and guides that tell you how to safely and effectively use their product.

Look to buy from a reputable company that cares about the safety and well being of the dogs.

The best way to use an e collar might be as a temporary device for associating negative or undesirable behavior with a cue (such as a vibration or noise), or a stimulus (such as a nick/static stimulus).

They can be used to teach or retrain a certain behavior, and then put away. They may only be brought out again if your dog/s forget that behavior, or need retraining.

So, really, they could be used ideally as a temporary training and teaching tool (not permanent) for happy and healthy dogs. 

If you notice any negative side effects to your dog’s physical or mental health from using an e collar, discontinue use immediately.

The benefits of an e collar might be:

  • You don’t have to set the collar to shock if it has alternative options like tone or vibration
  • The lowest shock settings on good e collars will provide a small amount of discomfort, not pain
  • The feedback to your dog is instantaneous and not delayed
  • It works at range
  • It saves you shouting and getting frustrated
  • + many other benefits

 

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