Our adventure dog Kepler wears his Fi GPS collar every day – we love that it tracks his location and steps, and provides us with a way of locating him in an emergency, if he was to get lost. While the Fi GPS unit comes with a purpose-designed collar that connects to the matchbox-sized unit, I wanted to work out how to use the Fi GPS Dog Collar with other collar brands, so he can wear different styles and colors – such as his gorgeous Bend-inspired Ruffwear Crag collar, without having to be concerned whether or not the brand makes collars specifically designed to be Fi-compatible.
After giving it some thought, I found an easy way to use the Fi Dog GPS dog collar unit with pretty much any other brand of dog collar – in this case, the aforementioned Ruffwear collar. The best thing about this way of getting the Fi Dog GPS on another brand’s collar is that it takes a few minutes, costs NOTHING (assuming you have the Fi and a collar to use) and requires no special skills, or even any sewing.
By the way… if you’re wondering what the Fi dog collar is all about and why Kepler wears one, you can learn more about it and see more photos in our Fi GPS dog collar review.
How To Use The Fi GPS Dog Collar With Other Collar Brands in 5 East Steps
Step 1: Remove the Fi GPS unit from its existing collar
The Fi Dog GPS unit comes with a 1 inch webbing collar, which is specifically designed so that the webbing either side of the unit is sewn around its two metal C-shaped rings. To switch between different Fi-specific webbing collars, swing the ring up above the GPS unit, and carefully push down until the metal C-ring comes out of its attachment hole on the Fi device.
Step 2: remove the two C-shaped metal attachment rings from the collar
If you are not precious about keeping or re-using the existing Fi collar again, perhaps because, like us, you have more than one of them, then the easiest way to remove the metal rings is by cutting the webbing on the collar.
This obviously means you can no longer use the collar, which is a shame. Alternatively, it should also be possible to push the metal ring out of the webbing, so you don’t damage it and have the option of returning the C-ring to the original collar in the future.
Step 3: Ready your new dog collar for the Fi GPS unit
The easiest way to ensure the Fi GPS unit will fit on your new dog collar is to use a collar that closely resembles the Fi collar, in terms of width and material. Our Ruffwear Crag collar is the same width as the Fi GPS collar – 1 inch – and is also made from webbing.
It may be possible to use other materials of dog collar, however as some, such as leather and biothane, tend to be thicker than webbing, the next step may be pretty tricky if you use one of those materials, because you’ll need enough space to fold the collar onto itself and still be able to fit the C-ring attachment onto the Fi GPS unit.
Step 4: Attach the Fi GPS to your dog’s collar
Locate the area on the collar where you want the Fi GPS unit to be sitting. I placed Kepler’s Fi unit on the doubled-up area of his Ruffwear collar, making sure the writing is the same way up as the Ruffwear branding.
There is plenty of space for the unit to sit flush against the webbing, and as it is doubled-up, the fit is a bit more snug and secure than sitting on a single layer of webbing.
Locate the C-ring under the webbing, with the attachment points facing up. Then bend the webbing over the top of the Fi, so that the C-ring attachments are pointing down towards the Fi GPS unit. This puts it in the best angle for re-attaching. Then bring the C-ring down below the Fi, and pull up to slot the attachment points into the unit. It’s fiddly, but worth it!
Repeat for the other side of the Fi unit… and VOILA! A Fi GPS x Ruffwear dog collar is yours!
Optional Step 5: Reduce movement of the unit around the collar
The fit against the webbing isn’t overly snug, so the GPS unit will slide around as the collar rotates on your dog’s neck. A simple way of stopping this from happening so often is to attach a small piece of velcro/hook-and-loop to the back of the Fi GPS unit and the part of the collar you want it to stay on.
How much does the Fi Dog Collar cost?
The Fi Smart Dog Collar costs $149 at the time of writing this article – that includes either a grey, yellow, pink, or blue collar and the main matchbox-sized GPS device mounted on it, together with the base station that you plug in at home. If you use our code 4C83FW via this link you’ll receive an extra band free of charge which is nice if you like to mix-up your look to keep your instagram followers entertained. 🙂 Use our exclusive coupon code ‘TK25‘ via the link below to get $25 OFF your Fi Collar order.
You may also wish to purchase a Fi Collar subscription, as this is needed to access all the GPS-specific features used by the Fi collar, including the important ‘lost dog mode. The subscription costs $99/year, or $8.25/month, and gets your dog’s collar added as a device to the LTE-M low power cellular network, which was specifically designed for such devices, and offers 20-30% more cellular coverage in the US than 3G networks. My parents have this subscription, so this Fi collar review is as in-depth as it could be, covering the GPS-specific features of the Fi Collar.