Help me figure out if my dog escaped

So I have a dog which takes absolutely every chance it can get to run out into the street. Smallish miniature schnauzer, I love her to bits but it causes some issues with the neighbours (always the same one who discovers her and brings her back). And well, yeah, she might get into some real trouble.

So I’m looking for some ideas on figuring out if she’s outside my yard or not.

I live in a stand-alone house on a 1,200mˆ2 yard, surrounded by walls and a fence on the street side with two gates, so there’s two places where she can escape. I have a camera mounted at the one gate which I can probably tweak my object recognition to pick up if she runs out, but still need a solution for the other place. Or something altogether.

Not super keen on a GPS unit that I have to charge, unless it is the only realistic solution. But I’m leaning towards a Bluetooth Low Energy tag on her collar and some way to track and estimate if it is inside my yard or not. Of course, she has free rein in the yard, so it will be interesting figuring out if she is inside but at the back of the place, or outside near the front.

Also fine if I have to go the ESP32 route, should be a fun project. Still - this is different than room-occupancy - I’m basically only interested in knowing if she is outside or inside the yard.

Any suggestions? I have two Raspberry Pi 3’s available…

It doesn’t sound like you’re interested in a full-blown GPS collar system, but I’ve had Whistle (previously known as Tagg) for years, and I’ve been very pleased.

The home assistant integration works well too.

I know there’s a new competitor out there, called Fi.
It looks to have much longer battery life, and a more easily swappable battery, instead of having to remove the collar and charge it from micro USB.

Someone wrote a comparison review, and summed it up this way… Whistle is a pet fitness collar that has GPS built in, but Fi is a GPS collar that has pet fitness built in.

Just my $.02.


Perhaps worthwhile to add that I’m in South Africa, so anything subscription-related with cellular connectivity is unlikely to work.

That being said, I see Fi can work without a subscription, and I haven’t thought about the idea of seeing if a collar is connecting to Wifi (I have fairly good coverage in my yard but it disappears quite fast outside my place.