Dog Expedition TC1 Border Patrol Review

Sportdog Brand Yardtrainer 350
Dog Expedition TC1 Border Patrol GPS System and Remote Trainer

Are you a high-tech, all-in-one gadget fan?

If your answer is "yes" then we got a treat for you today. Imagine having a wireless dog fence combined with GPS technology; now add tracking capabilities and remote training to the mix and you have the full package all wrapped up in a compact walkie-talkie style device and collar.

Sounds pretty good right? However, there are a couple of details you should be aware of before spending your hard earned money. There's a lot to like about this product, but there are also a couple of drawbacks to the system that won't sit well with some customers.

So let's get right into the review.

​Specifications

  • All-in-one product
  • Can fit neck sizes up to 27 inches
  • Recommended for dog breeds that weigh over 35 pounds
  • Rechargeable Li-Ion batteries
  • 50 levels of static stimulation
Collar fits dogs that weigh 8 pounds or more
5 -22 inches neck size
Eight levels of static stimulation and tone-only mode
Waterproof and submersible
300 yards of range
Fits neck sizes 6-23 inch
Compatible with PetSafe PIF-300 wireless fence
Fits dogs weighing 5 pounds or more
Five levels of correction as well as a tone-only mode
Rechargeable batteries
In-ground system
Waterproof collar
Four levels of stimulation plus vibration
Utilizes a conventional 9V battery
Low battery indicator light
System supports multiple collars

Dog Expedition TC1 GPS System and Remote Trainer – The Basics

Sportdog Brand Yardtrainer 350 – The Basics
Petsafe Stay and Play Fence Receiver – The Basics

This model is a multi-functional product combining an adjustable wireless dog fence, remote training, and tracking. So let's start with the fence feature. The Dog Expedition TC1 Border Patrol unit can establish a wireless GPS containment zone. The system is based on GPS technology instead of radio frequencies so it is much more reliable since it does not suffer from signal loss due to obstacles and it can cover up to 800 yards of range in all directions or about 400 acres - which is massive.

You can, of course, adjust the boundary zone with the minimum radius being 15 yards but the shape is always going to be a circle. The collar has a whopping 50 levels of static stimulation and, on top of that, a tone-only mode and vibration mode. You can set the collar to emit either an audible beep or a vibration as soon as your pet enters the trigger zone or the buffer zone if you want to call it that. Your dog will get corrected only if he doesn't turn around after receiving the warning sign. If your dog is a stubborn trooper, the unit makes sure that safety comes first so even if he leaves the boundary zone he won't get shocked continuously. The safety precaution kicks in after 8 seconds and stops the collar from hurting your dog. Another thing to note is that the handheld device doesn't have to be powered on in order for the collar to work. Once you set the boundary the collar saves it in its internal memory.

The tracking feature comes in handy for hunting or hiking, but it is also neat to have if your pet wanders off out of the previously mentioned boundary area. Even if he's outside of the 800-yard radius you can still track him for up to 2 miles if the line of sight to the sky is not obstructed by dense forest terrain.

Finally, the remote trainer feature is great if you're planning to use it for basic obedience training or hunting training. The system is expandable up to 5 dogs and each collar can have custom settings depending on the temperament of the dog. This is where the 50 levels of static stimulation really shine.

This particular model is designed for owners with particularly stubborn and feisty pets. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t use it on dogs without behavioral issues, but the sole purpose of it is to deliver a somewhat uncomfortable static signal which is responsible for toning your pet’s behavior down.
As you can tell, it has eight levels of correction. Most other models on the market usually don’t have more than four or five. Those three more levels are what makes this collar so effective when restless pets are in question. The 300 yards of range gives you more than enough time to react properly if something goes wrong. In other words, you can rest assured that it won’t go out of signal range before you press any of the buttons on the controller.
The first thing you need to know is that this isn’t a fully functional system but a collar. That means it won’t work without a proper transmitter. In this case, if you have the PetSafe PIF-300 system already installed, this particular collar won’t have any issues when synchronization is in question.
This model offers five different levels of static correction and a tone-only mode for training. Five levels offer more than enough variety for you to fine-tune the unit and find the one that doesn’t over-stimulate your pet. It fits on any breed as long as they weigh more than five pounds. Therefore, if you own a particularly small breed, you might want to look for something with less correctional intensity.
The batteries are rechargeable, and the charger is included with the unit. You have the choice of buying the collar without the charger, but do that only if you already own one. In case this is your first PetSafe product, we recommend buying the whole set in order to avoid unpleasant surprises and additional costs.

​The ​Features

​The ​Design

The handheld device is of decent size and feels well-built. It has a nice 2.4 inch LCD color display but the resolution is not that great. The button layout is very straightforward and the menu is user-friendly so even inexperienced dog owners can pick up this unit and use it with ease.

The collar design is one of the biggest downsides of this system. While the build quality feels fine, It's heavy, bulky and not as adjustable as some other products from the same category. On top of that, the strap is screwed into the receiver, meaning you can't opt for a custom one. The collar is waterproof but we wouldn't recommend testing it's submersibility.

The collar is pretty neatly designed. The biggest upside of it is the fact that it isn’t bulky or cumbersome. That being said, we did find the two contact points on the collar a bit peculiar and invasive, but it’s not a massive concern as it is more of a matter of your pet getting used to it. The on/off button might not seem like a big deal, but many other models simply don’t feature one. When you have a battery powered gadget, an on/off button is of utmost importance when it comes to efficiency and energy saving.
The transmitter works well and it’s quite easy to get the hang of it. It features two buttons of which one sends a short-timed signal whereas the other sends a continuous signal. On top of that, you can choose between eight different levels or even select the tone-only mode if you’re just getting started. Keep in mind that you need to find the optimal level of correction as soon as possible because not all dogs react the same to respective impulses.
Dog Training with Collar

The Battery

Both the handheld device and the collar are powered by rechargeable Li-ion batteries which is something we are a fan of. However, this being a GPS system it does tend to run the batteries down fairly quickly. The battery life on the handheld is between 6 and 12 hours, and up to 24 hours on the collar. Remember that you can turn the handheld device off after dialing in all the settings since the collar remembers them and can operate independently.

This model features rechargeable NiMH batteries that last about 40-60 hours per charge. The biggest complaint most people have is the fact that this model does not feature Li-Ion batteries which are more efficient and offer better performance.
Both the collar and receiver feature a low-battery indicator and can be charged at the same time thanks to the included split-end charger. Make sure to keep them charged at all times and you shouldn’t run into any major issues.
While many people consider this feature pretty irrelevant, the difference between rechargeable and switchable batteries does exist and it’s worth mentioning. As far as the advantages go, the biggest one is the fact that you don’t have to stack on batteries and plan ahead. Instead, all you have to do is plug it into the charger and let it recharge. The cycle lasts only about two or three hours, meaning there isn’t much downtime in the first place.
The drawback of this system is that the battery is built-in. In other words, if anything happens to the battery itself, the whole unit becomes more or less worthless. Luckily, these batteries aren’t prone to failing and breaking often.
The correction levels are excellent. The difference between levels isn’t massive which allows you to adjust the collar quite precisely. Furthermore, if you don’t want to use the correction system right away, there is a tone-only mode which is designed to help your pet get used to wearing and using its new accessory. The fact that everything is wireless makes this model perfect for parks, camping, RVs, and etcetera.
One of the great features is the vibration mode. It allows the owner to train their pet without having to use the electric stimulation. It helps you to gradually train your faithful companion instead of making you use progressive methods immediately.
Other features
While most pet collars look pretty similar to each other, some crucial differences need to be pointed out. As far as the advantages go, the biggest one is the build quality. One can easily tell that this unit is made to last, even in case you have a particularly feisty furry friend. The gadget isn’t too bulky or cumbersome, but it’s not the most comfortable thing on the market either. The collar features a plastic clip which does its job relatively well.
The system box is pretty straightforward, and there’s not much more to it. It comes with an adapter which can be a nuisance for some people due to its somewhat short wire. Therefore, make sure you plan the positioning thoroughly and install the box near an electric outlet to avoid issues with the length of the adapter wires.
While most pet collars look pretty similar to each other, some crucial differences need to be pointed out. As far as the advantages go, the biggest one is the build quality. One can easily tell that this unit is made to last, even in case you have a particularly feisty furry friend. The gadget isn’t too bulky or cumbersome, but it’s not the most comfortable thing on the market either. The collar features a plastic clip which does its job relatively well.
The system box is pretty straightforward, and there’s not much more to it. It comes with an adapter which can be a nuisance for some people due to its somewhat short wire. Therefore, make sure you plan the positioning thoroughly and install the box near an electric outlet to avoid issues with the length of the adapter wires.

PROS:

• Lots of features
• 50 levels of static stimulation
• Good range

​​• Easy to use
​​• Affordable
​​• Good coverage
​• Easy to setup
​• Good build quality
​• Smooth correction levels
• Easy to use
• Affordable
• Good build quality

CONS:

• Not suitable for smaller breeds

• Clunky collar design

​​• Underwhelming battery
​• Batteries are built-in
​• No on/off switch
• Batteries don’t last long
• No OFF button

What We Liked about It

The Dog Expedition TC1 Border Patrol GPS System and Remote Trainer is truly a unique product on the market. You get a wireless dog fence that can create a huge boundary area, a decent dog tracking device with a solid range of 2 miles, and on top of that, a remote trainer for obedience or hunting training, with lots of options for fine-tuning. GPS especially helps for people with lots of obstacles located on their property since it doesn't suffer from signal interference like standard RF systems do.

The best thing about this particular model is its portability. In other words, you don’t have to set up any invisible fences or hassle with miniature flags. All you have to do is put the collar on your pet and start the training. Also, the user manual is well-written, and it contains quite a bit of useful information on how to start the training process if you’re a complete novice.
The other thing we liked is the price. Many people expect it to be more expensive than the wireless containment system, but it’s not. In fact, it comes at an affordable price meaning that most pet owners can indeed plan on investing in such a gadget without having to think about their budget too much. However, it may not be as versatile as some containment systems that are available on the market nowadays.
The overall versatility and build quality are the things that we liked the most. In the sea of cheap and underwhelming dog collars, this stands out as one that’s worth investing in. As we already said, if you own the PIF-300 system, this particular unit is one of your safest bets.
The fact that it’s very easy to use makes it ideal for beginners and inexperienced pet owners. It’s also an affordable piece in comparison to some other models that offer similar capabilities and features. It isn’t the best thing on the market, but it’s certainly a piece that’s worth checking out.
People who are searching for high portability combined with great efficiency should find this collar interesting, to say the least.

​What We didn’t Like

What We didn’t Like

Having all those features in one product that offer so much versatility and then limiting the system to basically only be usable by larger dog breeds, due to the design of the collar, is kind of mind-boggling to us. Also, while the display on the handheld device is a nice color LCD, the resolution on it just leaves you wanting more.

The batteries are probably the weakest point of this product. While they aren’t bad per se, the engineers could have implemented Li-Ion batteries without a problem. The included ones may be considered obsolete and subpar in comparison to Li-Ion. While 40-60 hours seems long and sufficient, you may run into battery issues occasionally.  
The other thing a lot of users complained about is the inconsistency of the signal. In other words, if you select the level seven, the device might output a level four signal. It’s not a frequent occurrence, but it can happen. If you’re worried about consistency, consider checking some other models out, this one might give you troubles in the long run.
The battery is okay, but the fact that it cannot be changed might be a deal-breaker for some people. The recharging cycle doesn’t last long, but it can catch you off-guard. However, there is a low-battery LED light on the collar, meaning you should keep an eye on the levels.
The pet area cannot be changed into a square or rectangular shape. While this is usually typical for most wireless containment systems, it’s still worth mentioning. If you have anything against a circular shape of the area of effect, you might want to look into wired units as they offer more adjustability.
The lack of the OFF button is a major issue for many pet owners. Even though the process of changing the batteries is incredibly simple, it’s not uncommon for people to forget about it. That means you’ll have to go to the nearest store in case you forgot to stack on batteries the last time you were shopping.
As we already said, this fence does not come with wire included. While it’s clearly stated in the description, you would be surprised by the number of people that oversee it. Therefore, if you don’t have wiring installed in the yard, make sure you purchase it separately.

​Conclusion


"Jack of all trades, master of none" best describes the Dog Expedition TC1 Border Patrol. It is mainly a GPS based wireless dog fence, but in all honesty, if you live on a smaller property without too many obstructions in your yard, you are better off getting a standard RF unit since it's more affordable and usually more precise.

On the other hand, if you own a ranch and don't want to invest time in an in-ground solution, this product will be a welcome addition. It dabbles into pet tracking and it's great to have it, but if you want to be serious about it and analyze performance data consider purchasing a Garmin. The remote trainer feature is really good and comes in handy.

The Yardtrainer 350 is a decent remote trainer; there is no question about that. Is it the best one on the market? It certainly isn’t. Is it worth checking it out? Yes, it definitely is. In the end, it all comes down to your requirements and preferences. If its features and capabilities fit your idea of a perfect dog trainer, don’t hesitate to give it a chance. On the other hand, there are plenty of other models to choose from.
As far as the advantages go, the biggest one is its ease of use. If you’re an absolute beginner, this model won’t be much of a challenge thanks to its simplistic concept. As for the downsides, the battery and signal inconsistency should be your primary concerns.
This collar is a universal answer for most of your problems. If you have a feisty or disobedient pet, the Stay and Play Fence Receiver can help you when it comes to behavioral corrections. On the other hand, you have to be prepared for trials and errors because nothing happens overnight, especially when it comes to radical changes.
Beginners and inexperienced owners love the ease of use and simplicity of this unit. On the other hand, people who already trained their pets usually look for something with more features. In the end, it all comes down to your needs and preferences. As far as we are concerned, it’s definitely worth checking it out.
If you’re looking for a long-term solution when it comes to training your pet and correcting their behavior, an invisible fence is one of your safest bets. Now, make sure you fully understand your possibilities and responsibilities towards your furry friend. These things can easily become an instrument of abuse if you don’t use them correctly. That doesn’t always mean it’s the owner’s fault, but it does correlate with owner’s ignorance or lack of experience.
As far as your budget goes, you won’t damage it too much. As we said earlier, these fences aren’t cheap but are certainly a good investment, especially if you own a problematic dog. Many people spend hundreds of dollars on professional trainers, and they don’t always guarantee success. This way, you can take a role of a trainer even if you don’t have any experience, and train your pet according to your own preferences. It does take a bit of effort and time, but it definitely pays out in the end.

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