Dog trackers are becoming increasingly popular among dog parents, but how does the Whistle Switch compare?
Having already written a comprehensive review on the Fi tracker already done, I wanted to see how whistle compared. I know when we looked into trackers for Shelby & Lucy, the Whistle switch hadn’t been released and the features on the Fi series 2 were better than what whistle had to offer (in my opinion and I haven’t tested those!).
Please note this product was supplied for free for this testing – it does not affect my opinion at all.
When the Switch came out I loved the functionality that it offered.
I contacted whistle and arranged for me to review these trackers for you, so that you can have honest insight into the best trackers on the market and make your own, informed decision (because I advocate you being totally informed and done so impartially!)
At this point I want to note that whilst Whistle did supply these devices without cost, that I am not being paid to do this, I approached them because I wanted to test it. Consequently, this is as unbiased as it gets as there’s literally no incentive for me to “sell” this.
How The Whistle Switch Works
The Switch comes with two batteries, the device on the collar, the collar and a short charging cable. It’s a very simple thing. There’s less fuss than Fi, that’s for sure.
Then you install the app, sign up for the plan and it just kind of works! It’s a pretty simple set up.
Useful Features Of The Whistle Switch
Unlike other trackers, the whistle switch comes with two batteries, they plug straight into a USB cable, and charge up really nicely. It’s actually one of my favourite features that the whistle switch has because it means there is no dark spot where you had to charge it overnight or whilst your dog was definitely safe, indoors and sleeping.
It’s likely my very favourite thing that the whistle switch offers over it’s competitors.
Who Needs This?
If you’ve got a dog who is prone to wandering off (or running away when you accidentally leave a gate open because you’re unwell and brain dead) – then a tracker is a great idea. The whistle switch works well in this instance. They’re designed to do this after all! This is their primary use, their main function and what they still do best at.
Health Conscious Dog Parents
These devices are a little bit more than ‘normal’. They use the axis measuring they have imbedded to monitor the amount your dog drinks, scratches, eats, and licks – which are all huge indicators as to whether their in good health.
However, with all this in mind, it’s good to note that this isn’t infallible.
For example, here you can see that Shelby is deemed to have an elevated level of licking – now – I know for a fact that she’s been out in the snow a lot this week, and gotten wet – so she’s absolutely just drying herself off – hence the significant fluctuation in this score! So please to remember to apply logic to these before you panic!
Dogs In Training
Training is really important – did you know that? Haha – I hope so, I’m hoping that’s why your here. But these trackers are great for dogs that are in training. They can give you insight into possible reasons for changes in behaviour (e.g. it’s in time with a change in paw licking, or drinking, or sleep), or that your dog might just not be getting enough exercise, or sleep.
These devices are wonderful tools in the world of training because they can tell us a whole bunch of things that our dogs just cannot.
Batteries – yeah – they give you two. So, you literally do not need down time in your reporting statistics! Which is awesome. There’s no fancy base, just a cable, and you can leave one on charge, whilst the other is in use. Which really means that you’ve always got the device running. It’s also really easy to switch them around, which I appreciate!
Gosh I don’t know how much I harp on and on about how important sleep is, but genuinely it really is. I mean I’ve written about overtiredness and how important it is for bite-y puppies, but this is a whole new ball game… This allows me to actually put my money where my mouth is! And I loooooove it for that!
This can really give you great insight into your dog, their sleeping habits and subsequently the effect their sleep (lack thereof) has on their mood.
Literally, I am not even exaggerating when I say that I’ve been looking at Lucy sideways wondering why she’s like a cat on a hot tin roof, I’ll check the app and find out that she missed about 2hrs sleep overnight – for whatever reason – and all of a sudden, I know the reason and I know she needs a few extra z’s. I then know exactly how to treat the issue and it’s a quick, “Hey goosey goosey! C’mon missy! It’s nappin’ time!” Give her a kong, settle her down, and carry on.
You can program reminders into the whistle app, which is awesome. So it standardly comes with a reminder to flea and worm! I find it pretty useful, it’s a nice feature that they’ve actually thought through and would genuinely be useful.
This is genuinely the best feature that the device gives. Both Mr Rebarkable and I love it. It gives you the stats on how much your dog is drinking, their scratching and licking.
This is invaluable when it comes to detecting things like pain, kidney issues, fleas, skin conditions, allergies, foreign objects or similar! It’s really interesting stuff.
And what’s best? Is that this is entirely based on your dog.
This means that it’s not been taken from a bunch of dogs that aren’t your dog, or statistics that have been over averaged and don’t apply to your situation, it means that your dog averages amongst their own numbers and environment!
If I were solely looking for a device to look into behavioural modification and potential medical reasons? I’d be getting the whistle switch in a heartbeat.
All this said – it would also be nice if there were an “average” you could compare to incase your dog is standardly higher or lower than others.
Remember: Licking can be caused by a number of things – for example we see spikes when the girls come in after it’s been raining. Always remember to apply the environment before you assume medical!
Exercise is monitored in activity time. I really like that! It gives me mileage (which the girls are averaging 5 or 6 miles a day. That’s really far!) it’ll tell me how much activity they’ve done – in minutes. It’s really quite wonderful. And it keeps a track of these numbers so you can scroll back and forth between now and previously and see seasonal changes or similar. It’s quite interesting really.
It’s Really Reflective!
This is something that it really does have on a lot of it’s competitors. The collars they have are really reflective, and when you consider that these are marketed at dogs who are often going to get out, escape or getaway, then being able to see them in the dark is really important! And I’ll tell you the reflectiveness on these collars? Is really wonderful.
The Geofence Is Very Customisable
You can get the boundaries of your property really nicely it doesn’t have to be a square or a radius, you can make it as distinctly unique as your property – which is quite nice. That said, it’s really not that necessary because of the refresh rate? A circle or square, chances are if they’re out they’re out.
Room for Improvement
It’s a little slow at times, and it insists on assuming I’ve logged in every day – which I don’t – and consequently, it asks me to see all of the girl’s achievements every time I log in. That’s a bother to be honest.
I was shocked, but I got the email below, and was baffled almost instantaneously. Read this…
They want me to switch the battery every 3 days for continuous usage. I mean… wow, really? The battery itself can last for weeks and they want me to change it every 3 days?
I’m pretty confused at this if I’m honest!
It’s really off? It doesn’t update regularly, I get messages saying that one of the girls has reached their activity goal when they’re laying next to me… sound asleep. And the little “Shelby just doubled her activity goal!” alert comes up and I just smirk. But, it does make me question how ‘live’ it is. I feel like it takes a substantial amount of time to sync. Which would concern me if Shelby were to get out and it didn’t notify me ASAP.
The pictures are incredibly misleading. What you see in the adverts is actually just a 2D view. The 3D view? Is a large device. I do wonder if it’s comfortable? It doesn’t appear to impede the girls in any way, but it’s chunky.
The aesthetics of the Whistle Switch…
So, it looks like an e-collar. Which if you support that, that’s fine. But, I don’t, won’t and can’t and I don’t want anyone to think that it’s not an ecollar either. The device is huge, but it’s misleading in a lot of images.
I mean, it doesn’t come with a whole bunch of options, and to make it worse? The collar is buckle based – which is a total safety issue. I hate that. I’d love to see a pinch clip option because I do see it ending poorly for some dog at some point, and it’s totally avoidable… Yes, buckles are secure, but there are plenty of options to keep it safe and secure.
I’m also not terribly fond of the plastic clips between the collar and the device? I don’t feel they’re that secure.
As far as I’m aware, the collar cannot be changed once invested in.
Which sucks. I’d love to see some more interchangeability so that my girls collars can be as individual as they are!
They’re trying to incorporate an online veterinary service (something like pawp) but I have to say, it’s really not very good. I kind of assumed it would be more instantaneous and a lot less – well – vague? And that the vet would get the information from your pet’s health monitor – but it appears they don’t. Which is strange and unfortunate – because if it did? It would really have elevated this device into a whole different realm. Sadly? Instead, it’s just a bit of a throwaway addition.
All In All?
It’s got some seriously high tech stuff in here, and it’s great at everything it does. Despite the synchronicity issues, the overall report? Is on point. I know for a fact that it’s accurate because I know Shelby has been licking more, or drinking more when it says the same thing.
To me? The Whistle Switch is a health monitor with added GPS functionality – and it’s not something I would buy for GPS monitoring abilities.
But for Behaviour? And insights into why our dogs are doing certain things? The whistle switch would be the tool I would use. It gives its users phenomenal insight.
They’re a great tool, I do really like them. They definitely have their place in the world of trackers – it just depends on your budget and on your want from your tracker. If you want the additional health information? Go for the switch, they’re a nice device.
Head over to Whistle.com, these devices normally cost $199.95, and need an additional subscription of $99/year – which is not an insignificant amount.
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Author, Ali Smith
Ali Smith is the Positive Puppy Expert, dog trainer and is the founder of Rebarkable. She is passionate about helping puppy parents get things right, right from the start. To help create a puppy capable of being a confident and adaptable family member and keep puppies out of shelters.
Ali has won multiple awards for her dog training, and has had her blog (this blog!) rated as 2021 & 2022 worlds’ best pet blog!