What is Doggone?

Doggone is an innovative IT-based solution designed specifically to help reunite dog owners with their lost dogs – quickly, efficiently and safely.

It’s based around a Bluetooth dog registration tag that talks to a phone App. When you mark your dog as lost on the App, you can see a bread-crumb trail of where your dog has been and where it was last seen. The dog tag also connects up with a virtual ID that you, the dog’s owner has created for it. If someone finds a dog, they can access the owner’s emergency contact number by texting the dog’s registration number – which is engraved on the tag – to a safe and secure SMS service (free text 4133) and your emergency contact number shows up on their phone, so they can call or text you to let you know that your dog has been found!

How does Doggone work?

In simple terms, Doggone links a virtual ID with a Doggone registration tag, containing a Bluetooth tracking mechanism, and the free Doggone App.

The Doggone registration tag and the free Doggone App (when installed on iPhone or Android devices) communicate with each other whenever they are in proximity of each other (up to 60 metres).

When the App is downloaded on someone’s phone it will automatically pick up a signal from a passing dog wearing the Doggone tag and passively send a location notification to the Doggone database, without that passerby being any the wiser. Both the dog’s location and time for the ‘sighting’ is recorded on the Doggone database. If the dog owner has marked their dog as missing in the App, they will receive real-time notifications of their dog’s location.

The dog’s virtual ID profile is created by its owner and is stored securely by Doggone in the Cloud. When creating the virtual ID, the dog owner enters information about their dog that will help reunite it with its owner, and some of those fields are mandatory (e.g. dog’s name, owner’s phone number). The Virtual ID is password protected, so only the dog’s owner has the ability to access it for entering and updating the information.

Please note that to create a dog owner’s account with Doggone, you must have an email address.  If you do not currently have an email address, they are easy to create and there are plenty of free email address services available on the internet.

The Doggone tag has a unique registration number engraved on it.

What are the key features?

  • Ability to mark dog as missing (or found) on the App to receive real-time notifications of dog’s location.
  • Ability to view dog’s location history.
  • Owner notified if their dog is marked as wandering.
  • The tag is waterproof and robust.
  • Uses Smart Bluetooth (low energy) to avoid harmful effects to dog.
  • Compatible with both iPhone and Android technologies.
  • Does not require replacement batteries.
  • App doesn’t need to be turned on to work.
  • Access to free text service – if a member of the community finds the dog they can simply free text the registration number to 4133 and the owner’s emergency contact number is made available.
  • Ability to update or add further information on the dog’s virtual ID profile and information is live instantly.
  • Fully compliant with the Privacy Act and Dog Control Act.

When should I mark my dog as lost?

Immediately you realize that your dog is missing, please click the ‘Report missing’ button on your dog’s profile so that Doggone can get to work.

Please do not mark your dog as missing if it is safe and sound, as this sends a notification to the Animal Management team at your Council that your dog is missing.  They take a missing dog status very seriously and we want to avoid using Council resources unnecessarily in looking for a dog that is not lost.

Battery usage

How much phone battery does the Doggone App use?

Every phone is different – the older your phone is, the more frequently you are going to have to charge it.

You can check how much battery the Doggone App is using on your phone by visiting Settings, Battery, and then scroll down until you see the Doggone App and there will be a % displayed next to it.  You’ll also see how much battery the other Apps and services you have downloaded on your phone are using.

You can reasonably expect the Doggone App to use between 4% to 8% of your battery capacity.

How is the Doggone dog registration tag better than the existing Council registration tag?

The Doggone registration tag is technology based and therefore allows for a number of functions that can help reunite a lost dog with its owner that the current static disc or loop tags simply can’t.

By having the tag linked to the dog’s virtual ID and the App, dog owners are more aware, they can be alerted earlier if their dog goes missing and the real time location updates provided via the Doggone App give dog owners a bread crumb trail of where their dog has been and looks to be heading. Furthermore, Doggone is live, 24/7.

And all those who have the Doggone App on their phone act as passive enablers, sending location information from the App when a dog has been marked as missing to the dog’s owner as the dog passes by them – without even knowing!

The FREE text service also allows members of the community to effectively help reunite a lost dog with its owner.

Virtual ID

What is a virtual ID?

A virtual ID is simply an ID that is stored in the Cloud – as opposed to written down somewhere.

Your dog’s virtual ID – or profile – is created by you, its owner, and is stored securely by Doggone in the Cloud. When creating your dog’s ID profile, you simply enter information about your dog that would help reunite you with your loved pooch. Some of the fields within the profile are mandatory (e.g. dog’s name, owner’s phone number).  Your dog’s virtual ID is password protected, so only you can enter or update the information stored on your dog’s ID profile.

How do I create a password?

Your password should be known to you and only you, but you need to be able to remember it. The password needs to be at least six characters long.

What happens if I forget my password?

Click the ‘forgot password’ link in the Doggone App and you will be sent an email with instructions on how to reset your password. The email will be sent to the email account you nominated when you set up your account with Doggone.

How do I change my password?

Log in to the Virtual ID on the App. You can change your password by clicking the link to edit your account information. You will be sent an email to the email address that you nominated when you set up your Doggone account. When you are prompted to enter your new password, you will be asked to enter it twice to ensure it is correct.

Who will be able to see my dog’s virtual ID?

Only you, the dog’s owner, and the Animal Control Management team at your local Council will be able to see your dog’s ID profile.

How much information should I put in the Virtual ID?

All information requested is suitable for viewing by Animal Control Officers in carrying out their animal management roles under the Dog Control Act. Only some information is mandatory; however, the more complete your information is the better equipped they will be to assist you and your dog when needed.

It is important to ensure that your contact details are kept up to date at all times.  Updates can be made through the App and all updated information is live immediately.

Do I have to add a photo to the Virtual ID?

No, this is not mandatory.  However, this could prove very useful in helping a member of the public with identifying your dog accurately if it is seen out wandering, and impact the speed with which you are reunited with your dog.  In addition, a photo is useful for an Animal Control Officer who happens to find your dog, as they will be able to check the photo of the Virtual ID profile against the dog they’ve found and alert the owner accordingly.

How do I enter my dog’s breed?

To make it easier and more inclusive for all breeds of dogs, we have changed the format from a drop down box to a simple text entry to ensure that your adorable mixed breed dog can be accurately described.

Who should I list as the emergency contact?

The primary carer for the dog would be the most suitable person to list as the emergency contact, together with their contact phone number.

Registration Tag

How does the dog registration tag work?

Every Doggone registration tag contains two UUIDs (universal unique identifiers).  One UUID links the dog tag to the Doggone App and is contained within every dog tag.  The other UUID is unique to each individual dog tag and links to that dog’s ID information contained in the dog’s virtual ID.

All Doggone tags and the Doggone App communicate with each other via Bluetooth, using iBeacon with a range of up to 60 metres.

What is my unique owner Validation Code?

When you receive your Doggone registration tag, you will also receive a unique Validation Code (Owner ID). If you have more than one dog, you will receive a separate Validation Code with each dog’s tag. You will need to enter this Validation Code when you create your dog’s virtual ID profile on the App. This ensures that you will receive notification about your dog via the App if you mark it as missing, or if it is notified as wandering.

By entering the unique Validation Code only you, as the dog’s owner, will receive information about your dog and its whereabouts. The Validation Code is eight characters long (alpha/numeric). You can share your dog’s Validation Code with members of your family who may also share responsibility of your dog.

Is the Doggone registration tag waterproof?

Yes, the Doggone dog tags are a fully sealed unit and are waterproof to IPx7 standard, which is a common rating for small portable electronic devices that are designed for use outdoors. Under the IPx7 designation, small portable electronic devices are able to withstand immersion in water of up to one metre, for up to 30 minutes.  No damage will be caused to your dog’s registration tag if your dog gets caught in the rain, or splashes in the water at the beach or river. However, prolonged exposure, such as swimming, would be harmful.

Does the Doggone registration tag require batteries?

The Doggone registration tag does not require battery replacement.  The fully sealed unit comes with a CR2032 battery fitted. The battery has a lifespan of 14-16 months and will therefore last for the 12-month registration period that the tag will be worn.

How robust is the Doggone registration tag?

The Doggone registration tag is very robust. It is manufactured using PC plastic – Polycarbonate plastic – and has a toughened outer casing. PC has a very high impact resistance as well as a high IP rating (ingress protection rating).  It has a wide operating temperature range and is self-extinguishing. Importantly it has good resistance to chemical attack, together with good UV resistance.

What is the size and weight of the Doggone registration tag?

The Doggone tag is the same diameter as the existing Council registration disc tags – 37mm.  It has a width of 7mm. The Doggone tag is very lightweight, weighing just 7 grams.

Can I have my dog’s name engraved on the Doggone tag?

There is no need to engrave your dog’s name on the tag.  The Doggone tag includes a simple and effective call to action – by free texting the dog’s registration number displayed on the tag to 4133, the dog’s emergency contact information is available instantaneously.

Why is my dog tag a different colour each year?

The Dog Control Act 1996 stipulates that dog tags need to be colour coded each year. All Councils across New Zealand use a new colour for each new registration year.

Doggone registration tags will comply with the annual colours as stipulated by the Dog Control Act.

For the purposes of the trial with Hamilton City Council and Hutt City Council, the tag will be black.

What if I have multiple dogs?

Each of your dogs will have their own Bluetooth registration tag but you can view them all individually on your phone through the Doggone App, mark them as lost and found and receive real-time location updates for each one, as required.

What dogs should wear the Doggone registration tag?

Every dog that is registered with a Council using the Doggone service should wear the Doggone registration tag.

All dogs that are three months or older are legally required to be registered with their local Council.  Dog owners are legally required to register their dog(s) with their local Council on an annual basis.

Please check with your local Council for fees schedules and payment dates for registering your dog.


What is Bluetooth LE (low energy) 4.2?

Doggone uses Smart Bluetooth 4.2 (low energy) to avoid any harmful effects to the dog.

Bluetooth Low Energy (also known as BLE) is a wireless interconnection of mobile phones, computers and other electronic devices. Bluetooth can send information from one device to another wirelessly.

Bluetooth Low Energy is intended to provide considerably reduced power consumption and cost while maintaining a similar communication range to standard Bluetooth.

The Doggone tag uses Smart Bluetooth 4.2 (the latest version of Bluetooth) which is more secure and faster. Bluetooth 4.2 is backward compatible, which means that it is compatible with earlier versions of Bluetooth 4.1 and 4.0 devices that also implement the low energy features.

What is the difference between Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy?

Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) are used for very different purposes.  Bluetooth can handle a lot of data but uses battery life quickly and costs a lot more.  BLE is used for applications that do not need to exchange large amounts of data and can therefore run on battery power at a cheaper cost.

What is iBeacon?

iBeacon is the name for Apple’s technology standard which allows mobile Apps (running on both iOS and Android devices) to listen for signals from beacons in the physical world around them and react accordingly.  The underlying communication used for iBeacon is Bluetooth Low Energy.

What is the maximum range of the Doggone tag?

Up to 60 metres.  Most other Bluetooth devices currently available in the retail market have a range of up to 30 metres.

What is the frequency of signal from the iBeacon?

The frequency of signal being sent from the Doggone registration tag is once every 5 seconds (5 milliseconds).

How does the free text number work?

In the event that a member of the community finds your dog wandering, they can simply free text your dog’s registration number to 4133.  There is a prompt on the registration tag which states “If I look lost please free text my REG# to 4133 to contact my owner”. The person that sends the text to 4133 will be provided with the dog owner’s contact phone number immediately to enable contact with the dog owner.

The Doggone free App

Who can use the Doggone App?

The Doggone App is free and is available for anyone to download – dog owner or not.

Multiple family members can download the App to allow them to keep track of their dog.  They simply need to enter the same email address and password that was used to create the dog owner’s account.

We recommend that all dog owners ask their family, friends and neighbours to download the Doggone App as this means there are more ‘beacons’ in the community passively looking out for Doggone tags to help reunite dogs with their owners.


How do I install the App?

Simply search for the App in the App Store (Apple – iPhone) or Google Play Store (Android).  Please note that if you are searching for Doggone in the App Store, you may need to enter Doggone as two words “dog gone”, to fit with Apple’s search criteria.

There are two Doggone Apps – one titled ‘dog owners, public’ and one called ‘AMO’.  Please download the ‘dog owners, public’ version of the App. The AMO version is for the Animal Management Officers at the Council.

Once you find the Doggone App select ‘Get’ (iPhone) or ‘install’ (Android) to install.

Throughout the Doggone trial there will be a number of updates available through Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store.  Please accept these updates to ensure that you have the latest version of the App on your phone.

How does the App work?

The App acts as a beacon to communicate with any Doggone dog tags when they are in proximity of each other (up to 60 metres).

If a dog has been marked as lost in the App by the dog’s owner, a notification will be sent to the dog owner whenever their dog’s tag comes within 60 metres of someone with the App, noting the time and location of the sighting.

If a dog is found wandering, it can be marked as wandering on the App and a notification will be sent to the dog’s owner, noting the time and location of the sighting.

Whenever a dog is marked as missing (or found) by its owner or marked as wandering by a member of the public, the local Animal Management Control team will also be notified so that they, too, can help find the dog and reunite it with its owner.

Why does Doggone require Bluetooth to be turned on?

To enable you to receive and broadcast locations for dogs, Bluetooth and Location permissions are required to be turned on.  As the App doesn’t need to be turned on (it just needs to be installed on your phone), there is very little draw on your valuable battery power and data.

What does the ‘heavy use message’ mean?

This message only appears on some Android phones and is a built-in feature of those particular phones.  The reason for this alert is to remind you that you have Bluetooth turned on and the battery usage could be affected by any other Apps you have running at the same time.  It always pays to check what other Apps you have downloaded on your phone as they may be running unnecessarily.

The Doggone App itself uses very minimal battery and data.

Free text 4133

Is this service actually free?

Yes.  Every time a phone user sends a text to 4133 and gets a response, they will not be charged for either.

What if I get a notification “May produce fees”?

Some Android phones have a built-in function which alerts users to a possible charge associated with the call and/or text they are about to make.  Because this is a built-in function in the phone, we are unable to turn it off. Please be assured that there will be no fee charged to you for sending to, or receiving a text message from, our free text service 4133.


Please read and familiarise yourself with the Doggone privacy policy which can be found here.

Is my information private?

As part of setting up your Virtual ID, you will need to nominate an emergency contact phone number, and this will be made available in times of need.  If a member of the public finds your dog wandering they can mark it as wandering in the App and you will receive a notification of your dog’s location.

Alternatively, they can also free text 4133 with your dog’s registration number and they will receive a text back with your contact phone number so that they can get in touch.

No third party, other than the Animal Control Officers within your Council, has access to any information about a dog, or its location, to ensure the safety of the dog and its owner.

All information that is entered on to the dog’s virtual ID profile is accessible by the Animal Control Officers to allow them to carry out their animal management duties in compliance with the Dog Control Act.

At no time does Doggone collect personal information about the person finding the dog or their whereabouts.

Personal information about a person who has the App on their phone is not linked with the person finding the dog.

Is my information stored securely?

Yes. Details obtained from dog owners participating in the trial will be held securely on Doggone’s database. These details will be retained for a short period of time following the completion of the trial so that Doggone and/or the participating Councils can contact these dog owners for their feedback on the trial. Thereafter, all details will be deleted from Doggone’s database.

Who can use the Doggone service?

Everyone. In fact, we recommend that you ask friends and family to download the free App so that they, too, can passively assist with reuniting dogs with their owners.  Simply by having the App installed on their phone, it acts as a “beacon” for Doggone dog tags.

Can I share information about my dog’s location with other members of my family/friends?

Yes – simply get them to enter the dog’s Validation Code when they download the App on their phone.

The Doggone database

Where is my information stored and for how long?

The Doggone database securely stores your information for the duration of the current dog registration year. All information is stored in the Cloud.


What if I don’t have an email address?

Please note that to create an dog owner’s account with Doggone, you must have an email address.  If you do not currently have an email address, they are easy to create and there are plenty of free email address services available on the internet.

What if I can’t see my dog’s location on the App?

Please check that you have the best version of location services activated on your phone. To do so, go to settings, privacy, location services and turn location services on.

If you are still having difficulties please contact us on

My emergency contact details were not provided when the dog’s registration number is texted to 4133

Check that the required mandatory information has been entered on to the dog’s Virtual ID, including a contact phone number.  If this information has not been entered, then the emergency contact number will not be provided to anyone in the event that the dog’s registration number is texted to 4133.

What if my dog chews the dog tag?

It is a legal requirement that dog registration tags are worn by the dog at all times. The tag should sit neatly under the dog’s neck to avoid it catching on anything or the dog being able to chew the tag. Damage to the tag could result from the dog chewing the tag.

What if my dog swallows the dog tag?

You should take every precaution to prevent your dog chewing or swallowing its dog tag.  The tag contains a CR2032 lithium ion battery, and whilst it has a protective coating around the battery, making it one of the safest batteries available, batteries should not be ingested.

As with any foreign body that is ingested, there are dangers associated with a dog swallowing a dog tag. Those dangers include:

Possible blockage in the dog’s gut.  The severity of any blockage depends on the size and age of the dog. Whilst most dogs will pass a foreign object within 10-24 hours, this is not always the case. Doggone dog tags are ‘radio opaque’ which means that, unlike existing plastic dog tags, they will show up in an X-ray.

In the event of a dog swallowing a Doggone registration tag (or any foreign object), immediate advice should be sought from your vet. As Doggone registration tags contain a battery, removal of the tag will be necessary. You should advise your vet that the tag contains a battery (CR2032 Lithium ion).

Who should I call if I am having problems?

If you are having problems with the Doggone App or your Doggone registration tag, contact Doggone at 0800 321 111 for further information.

If you are having problems with anything registration related, you should contact your local Council.

If I have to replace a faulty or lost dog registration tag, can I transfer my information to a new dog tag?

You will need to create a new virtual ID for your dog as you will be issued with a new Unique Owner ID# with the new replacement tag.

Is the Doggone dog tag just for dogs?

At this stage, the technology platform supporting Doggone has only been applied to support those involved in the dog community. However, the platform could readily be adapted to support the requirements of other animal welfare and compliance related activities.