A while back, the good folks at SportDOG sent me one of their Sporthunter 1225 e-collars to test out. The 1225 is a collar that really hits that sweet spot between affordability and performance many gundog owners are looking for. Instead of reviewing it myself, I thought I’d try to get it in the hands of someone with a young dog who I knew would give it a thorough workout. I found my test subject when Greg McReynolds, a hard-core bird hunter, told me he had just gotten a new setter pup. He can usually be found chasing birds all across the West when he is not working on state legislative issues for Trout Unlimited in Idaho. You can check out his writing at the Mouthful of Feathers blog. Here’s his guest review:
“I brought home my first setter pup nearly a year ago after owning a series of flushing dogs. I’m familiar with high-powered dogs but this pup, Luna, came out of the box at warp speed.
“I determined pretty quickly that I was going to need an e-collar with a little more range. I got the collar right about the time I was ready to start collar conditioning and I used it for 6 months as my e-collar for my setter. We tested it pretty hard, starting with yard work and carrying through seasons for forest grouse, huns, sharptail grouse, pheasants, quail and chukar.
“The 1225 is part of Sportdog’s Sport Hunter series and both the collar and the transmitter are waterproof. The collar has a single recessed button on the back of the collar between the probes to turn the collar on and off and a front facing LED that flashes green when it’s on and fully charged and red when the batteries are getting low.The transmitter has three buttons and a wheel to adjust the intensity of the stimulation. The buttons are easily set to control which button is nick, continuous, tone or vibrate and there are also options for setting up two collars with different buttons controlling each collar.
“I have my buttons set to continuous, nick and tone and after a few minutes of getting acquainted with the layout, it’s been a really easy transmitter to work even when my hands are cold or while wearing gloves. It’s small enough to lose in a vest pocket, but light enough to wear easily on a lanyard, so I’ve kept it around my neck all season with no complaints.
“I had two minor hiccups with the collar. The first one came when I pulled the collar, charger and transmitter out of the box and plugged them in to charge while I read through the manual.
“Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the lights to come on and indicate it was charging.
“So I dialed the enclosed customer service number where a kind and helpful woman answered on the second ring. She was based here in the US and she had me try a few things like check the plugs and try a different outlet before apologizing and getting my address to send me a new unit. A brand new charging unit arrived on my doorstep less than 40 hours later and I didn’t even have to navigate an automated telephone system. And just for the record, I never mentioned that I was reviewing the collar.
“The collar had enough of a charge already that I never even missed a use. It’s hard to overstate a company that values their customers – doesn’t put them on hold or send their calls overseas – and quickly solves problems. I’ll buy another collar from Sportdog for that alone. The second issue I had was my own. I didn’t screw the antenna in tight enough and after a few months, it eventually unscrewed and fell out somewhere in chukar country. My hope is that one of those red-legged little bastards will trip over it. After I ordered a replacement (nine dollars on Ebay) I put a little Loctite on it before I screwed it in and I haven’t had a problem since.
“The unit has excellent range, billed at 3/4 of a mile, but I never had a situation where the dog was visible and the collar wouldn’t work which is what I wanted for pointing dog work.
“The battery life is excellent and the collar rarely needs charging under light use. I made a habit of charging it on Sundays and never ran out of juice, even when using it daily.
“While the transmitter can be set up to run two collars, I didn’t find this to be the best two-dog solution transmitter wise. Were I looking for a two-dog system, I’d want a more positive way to identify which dog I want to correct from the transmitter.
The Sportdog 1225 lists for $265, but the real world price is more like $240. For a working a single dog from the training yard to the uplands, this collar is an excellent value that’s durable, waterproof and will do everything you need without any fuss.”