It doesn’t matter if your dogs are running through the wilderness, or taking a leisurely stroll in the park. The easy-to-use handheld system allows you to track and train your dogs ranging up to 9 miles away. It delivers their exact position as often as every 2.5 seconds. The large, touchscreen display (which can be used with gloves) shows them even when they are not within sight. Alpha 100 comes with TOPO U.S. 100K maps already pre-loaded, so you’ll always be aware of their surroundings anywhere in the country.
The Alpha 100 handheld is often used in conjunction with and TT 15 or TT 15 mini dog collars, and it can be used to pinpoint the exact locations of up to 20 dogs.
Wait, there are many more amazing features in this device that we have not mentioned yet. The Garmin Alpha’s BaseCamp software lets you plan your next adventure. During a trip in the car you can view and plan routes, maps, and tracks. BaseCamp displays topographic map data on your computer, which includes contour lines as well as elevation profiles. The data can be viewed in 2-D or in 3-D. It can also transfer satellite images to your device when paired with a BirdsEye Satellite Imagery subscription.
The Alpha 100 especially helps you train and control your dogs when they’re hunting game. The easy to access training buttons allow you to communicate with each dog separately through safe and effective features. There are 18 levels of momentary and 18 levels of continuous stimulation, plus audible tones or vibe commands. A lockout setting is available to avoid stimulating your dog inadvertently, which makes this device even safer for your dog. There are even two stimulation modes which give you the ability to tailor your training even more. The traditional stimulation mode allows you to make quick changes between stimulation levels with low, medium and high ranges. The linear stimulation mode allows for even more levels fro 1 through level 18.
Product Comparisons — Garmin Astro vs. Alpha
Garmin’s Alpha series is often compared to the Garmin Astro series. The Garmin Astro 430 (as well as the older Astro 320) are indeed powerful tracking devices. The biggest difference is that the Astro is purely a tracking device for your dogs, while the Alpha is a tracking and training device. As mentioned above, the Alpha 100 includes Tri-Tronics electronic dog training technology – the Astro series does not. So if you want to train your dogs in addition to tracking them, then the Alpha 100 is a no-brainer. The price of the Alpha 100 bundle (complete with the TT15 collar) is more than that of the Astro 430 bundle by about $150 bucks. But in our opinion, while you are spending hundreds of dollars on a tracking system for your dogs anyway, why not spend a few more and get the training functionality in there? You can do so much more with your dogs that way.
Feel free to checkout our more detailed comparison of the the Alpha 100 and the Astro 430.
Also, if you are debating between getting the Alpha 100 and the Astro 320, keep in mind that the Alpha 100 is expandable to be used with up to 20 dogs, while the Garmin Astro 320 only has a 10 dog capability. (The Astro 430 can be used with up to 20 dogs.)
As far as compatible collars go, the Alpha 100 is fully compatible with the TT15 collar and the TT15 mini collars. (The Alpha 100 is “tracking only” compatible with the T5 collars).
Will the Garmin Alpha track the DC50 collars?
Another question that comes up frequently is whether the Alpha will track DC50 collars. There is some controversial information available here, which we have summarized.
First of all, Garmin’s own site states that the answer is no – per a footnote on the DC50 page, “The DC 50 is compatible with the Astro 320 and Astro 430 handhelds only (software upgrade required). It does not work with Astro 220 or Alpha® handhelds.”
However, by perusing various forums, we have found that a different answer has been obtained when people have actually called Garmin, and that answer is yes! Per one user, the DC50 collars can indeed be tracked with the Alpha. But here is the catch — you need to have (or at least have access to) an Astro 430 as well.
Basically, a 4 digit pin needs to be obtained for the DC50 collar in order to pair it with the Alpha 100. But this pin can only be obtained by first loading the DC50 collar into an Astro 430. So here is what you do:
- Update both the Alpha 100 and the DC50 collar to the newest software.
- After that, the DC50 collar must be loaded into a Astro 430 to gain the 4 digit pin.
- Now use this 4 digit pin to pair the DC50 with the Alpha 100.
Now we have not tried this ourselves, so we are actually curious to find out what your experience was, and whether this worked, so if you try it, please do comment below. It feels like a totally convoluted way of doing this, but hey – if you have a DC50 collar lying around, at least you can try to use it with your Alpha 100!
Amazon reviewers gave the Garmin Alpha 100 an average rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars. Positive reviewers wrote that the device helped them find their dogs when they went missing for a short time. One reviewer loved that the device allowed its dog to develop an outside food diet. Others liked the battery life, wide GPS screen and the easy to control settings on the stimulation levels. However, some negative reviewers complained that some of the functions didn’t work properly, the incompatibility with other Garmin collars, and the price.
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The Bottom Line
If you are serious about training your dog to be a hunter, then this device has it all. You can’t go wrong with the advanced tracking and training features of the Garmin Alpha 100.