Review: Garmin Alpha 10 & TT 15 Collar

Garmin alpha 10, tt 15 dog collar

Several years ago, I was out with my German shorthaired pointer, Seamus; he was just two years old, fast and athletic. Plodding along the trail, I looked up to see several mule deer moving quickly across a slope—with Seamus right on their hooves. Even with a training collar on, he was not to be deterred. He didn’t catch the deer, but he did disappear for three hours (luckily my daughter drove the road to help search for him and we were all eventually reunited). If I'd had the Garmin Alpha 10 paired with a TT 15 Dog Collar, the situation would have been completely different. I wouldn’t have had to call the cavalry to help search for the damn dog, I would have simply looked down at the handheld device and known his location. The range is up to nine miles, which is great security, and one I hopefully will never have to use.

Beyond the safety net of knowing where my dog is--a net I now use when hiking, trail running, and camping—this setup is a game-changer for hunting birds. The Alpha 10 signals when he’s on point, gives distance and direction to his location, and has several different options for correcting behavior. You can set the TT 15 collar via the handheld controller for tone, vibration, and momentary or continuous shock (with 18 levels of stimulation). Because the handheld only has one button for sending a command, switching the correction is slightly cumbersome, but only a minor inconvenience considering its many other great attributes. Now I’m able to concentrate on my surroundings and not constantly worry about where Seamus is.

There is a lot to this device, including several functions that I’ve yet to use. It can be paired with a smartphone or other Garmin devices. It tracks both you and your dog, so you can contrast the route your dog took against your path (unsurprisingly, for every mile I travel, Seamus covers about three). You can share your current location with other Garmin devices, save hunt routes, track other hunters, or up to 20 dogs (I'm assuming this is for lion hunters with hounds?). And the GPS feature allows you to mark your vehicle when you start your hunt to avoid getting lost on the way back.

Both the Alpha 10 and TT 15 have an amazing battery life of 40 hours, and, if you need longer, the new TT 15X lasts for 80 hours. I strongly suggest learning the basics and practicing in a controlled area before heading to the hills, but if your dog does run off, at least you’ll know where he's gone to and have several hours of battery life to track and find him.

Available online; $400 for the Alpha 10 and $300 for the TT 15.