Training your dog to stay, heel, and come back when called might seem easy enough – but what do you do once your dog is running a mile a minute, disappearing out of sight?

With a Tractive GPS strapped to her dog Charlie’s harness, Netherlands-based pet parent Lisa van Roon has a few tips to share. Here’s their story and why she recommends that every pet parent should go for a Tractive tracker.

Lisa & Charlie the Basenji

Lisa van Roon and Charlie the Basenji

“I’ve raised Charlie as a puppy – and for the longest time, everyone would tell me how much of an escape artist he might turn out to be. (Mainly because of his breed.)

Rather understandably, I gained a bit of anxiety regarding just that!

Charlie’s never really…well, escaped – but he’s smart, curious, and inquisitive. Meaning, while we’re out on walks together, he does keep me on my toes.”

That time when Charlie wandered away on a hike…

“I was walking Charlie in a forest together, thinking it was just the two of us. I wasn’t aware my parents were actually hiking along in the same area – just out of sight.

Charlie, on the other hand, picked up their scent immediately – and he suddenly disappeared!

I was definitely panicking for a few minutes – but then I remembered to check the Tractive app on my phone. The LIVE tracking immediately showed me where he was, but I didn’t understand why he was headed that way.

But then I got a call from my mom – telling me that Charlie was walking with them. They didn’t know we were in the area either!

Lisa and Charlie on a walk through the forest

So while that was a major heart attack averted, I always have to remember Charlie’s instinct to explore.

Sometimes, he might wander far away enough for me that he’s out of sight.

In these cases, I always want to have that extra layer of security. I want to know that I’ll always be able to find him.”

Other times Charlie’s Tractive GPS has come in handy

“Charlie isn’t much of a hunter, but sometimes he used to like chasing after birds while out on walks in the forest. They even liked to chase him back, it’s quite funny to see!

But birds tend to be fast – and so is Charlie. Meaning as he’d chase them down, he wouldn’t get too far away…but he’d often get out of my sight.

With the Tractive tracker on his harness, I have that extra bit of peace of mind. Meaning even if he does wander off a bit too far – I’ll still be able to find him.”

Charlie wearing a harness and Tractive GPS

“In fact, I often worry, ‘What if something happens to me together – like if I faint? Or if the leash is faulty somehow?’

That’s why I have Charlie’s harness double-strapped to my waist. He’s not double strapped to an extra collar anymore, which we used as an extra precaution around the time of “noisy” festivals like New Year’s Eve. But it reassures me that even if he does want to run away, at least I’ll know.

It’s because of this that I’m insistent he should always have the tracker when we’re outdoors together. Plus, I don’t want him to be able to slip out of his harness.

So I’m always checking and double checking with my parents or brother. (When I’m not the one walking him.)”

What Tractive features might help out pet parents best?

“The LIVE tracking is my #1 recommendation when it comes to peace of mind.

Besides that, Tractive’s Family Sharing feature is super helpful. Both let me monitor how Charlie’s doing even if I’m not around. Plus, with the Family Sharing, my parents can use the app as well. So if I’m not around and Charlie goes missing, they can check where he’s run off to as well.

I don’t always get to walk Charlie because I might be at work or elsewhere. I mainly use the LIVE tracking feature to check on my parents when they’re taking care of him.”

Tractive GPS app feature screenshot LIVE Tracking

“I can get anxious wanting to know where he is at all times. So I check the LIVE tracking to see where he’s being walked.

Once I see my parents and Charlie are back home safe, I have my peace of mind because the tracker helps me see his location even if I’m not there.

Besides, I also use the tracker to see how fast Charlie’s running. Basenjis are one of the fastest dog breeds after all! (Which is also why it’s not a good idea to try and chase one down.)

This helps me feel more confident I can let him off-leash in specific areas. Especially ones that don’t have other dogs walking off-leash, who might end up chasing or biting him, and that are fenced in – to make sure he stays safe.”

Who would you recommend should get a Tractive tracker?

“Every pet parent, hands down. If my friends get a dog for the first time, I always suggest they get a Tractive device, first thing.

And to be completely honest, I don’t see why people wouldn’t! It’s convenient, safe, comfortable – and you never know what could happen to your pet when out on a walk together.

Charlie the Basenji wearing his harness and Tractive GPS

“You can train any animal to stay close to you and work together, you could have the best-behaved dog that stays by your side all the time  – but you have to consider the worst case scenario as well.

They could get hit by a car or a bike, attacked by another dog or animal (like Charlie was, twice now)…you just never know what could happen!

Which is why I would suggest all dog parents just strap a Tractive device to their dogs’ collars. So you know you can always find them.”

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First time pet parents

“One of the first things I got Charlie as a puppy was a Tractive tracker.

I would 100% recommend Tractive for first time pet owners. (Simply because you need to figure out so many things about your dog.)

Which includes their temperament, how active they are, how likely they are to run away…so you always know how to find them.”

Lisa training Charlie outdoors

“Besides, a young dog doesn’t completely understand why they shouldn’t just be exploring everywhere. Or avoiding areas we know are dangerous for them.

So it’s up to us, as responsible pet owners, to be extra mindful of that.”

Experienced pet parents

“I’ve often run into dog parents who’ve had their dogs for 20, maybe even 50 years. And the usual attitude I’ve come across is, “I know what I’m doing.” Which is understandable, really – but it’s not enough.

For starters, you should always consider staying up to date with the most recent findings on dog behavior. Why they run away, what can motivate them to escape from home – everything.

(I’d also recommend this for cats, since in my experience, cats actually escape from home way more than dogs!)”

Charlie wearing his Tractive GPS on a forest trail

“Secondly, you need to accept that you’re not a superhero.

You don’t have superpowers – you can’t preempt your dog running away.

And you certainly can’t track them by yourself if they get out of sight!

But with a Tractive device, you now have that extra layer of security that no matter where your pets wander off to, you can take an active role in finding them again.”

Lisa’s expert tips for training & understanding your dog

“Now when it comes to Basenjis, you might hear a lot about how they’re “untrainable” – but that’s just not true.

Basenjis aren’t just trainable – they’re extra eager to learn and are pretty food-motivated! They’re also highly intelligent, almost human-like. (Especially when they vocalize, like they’re having a conversation with you.)

Charlie used to have a bit of anxiety, but with regular training we’ve been able to overcome much of it. (Because anxiety – whether from being separated from you, or due to loud noises – is one of the key reasons dogs run away, after all.)

So far, I’ve trained Charlie to find his “safe space” between my legs when we’re out and about and he comes across something anxiety-inducing. (Like another, rambunctious dog that’s off-leash.)

This is so that strangers don’t touch him and that he can feel safe.”

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A post shared by Cute Dutch Dog Charlie (@charliebasenji)

“We’ve also worked together on establishing a calming breathing routine for when we’re together outdoors. So every time his nose twitches, meaning he’s breathing in deep, I reward him with a treat. 

And it actually works! He gets out of that scary moment quickly because we’ve been practicing together for years now.”

“I’m confident Charlie’s a good boy – but Tractive is mostly for my peace of mind.”

“I never let Charlie off-leash anymore. He’s firmly leashed to me at all times – mostly because a lot of other people don’t manage their off-leash dogs’ behavior. Without any clue about proper dog behavior or training.”

Lisa and Charlie relaxing together

“I’m confident in Charlie’s training and that he’d stay by me in case anything does happen to me when we’re out together.

But Tractive is mostly for my peace of mind. Charlie’s my child – he’s my everything. I could never risk losing him. 

So if you’re looking for peace of mind at every step, a GPS tracker like Tractive is pretty much built for it – exactly for pet parents just like you.”

packaging of the Tractive GPS DOG tracker

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Follow every step in real-time with unlimited range. Get alerts if they wander too far. Keep them happy & healthy with Wellness Monitoring. And let others – like walkers or sitters – keep an eye on your dog too.

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Lisa and Charlie van Roon

Lisa and Charlie van Roon have been happy Tractive users since 2017.

They’re based in the Netherlands, where they’re both a fan of daily walks, regular training and breathwork sessions, and chasing down the local bird population.

Check out their adventures on Lisa’s Instagram or Facebook!