There are the wanderers, and then there are the stay-at-homes.
And those pets that do wander cause enormous angst for their owners. But the CSIRO is working on a low cost tracking solution.
The companion collar uses low-energy Bluetooth connectivity for short-distance pet tracking, flipping to satellites for longer distance roamers, based on an already-proven smart tag program for cattle which will be rolled out early next year.
Dr Phil Valencia, a CSIRO senior research engineer, said the Bluetooth collar was aimed at being a lower cost approach than the GPS tracking collars already available and which require regular re-charging. The companion collar requires bi-monthly charging on average, depending on the amount of activity the animal performs.
The CSIRO's imbedded intelligence platform with inbuilt machine learning provides the technical basis for the collar, now in its prototype stage but likely to be rolled out next year.
Pets that stay within the boundary established by the owner trigger the device's automatic power saving mode.
Alternatively, owners can place beacons around their home or property and when the pet leaves that perimeter, the device goes into "lost" mode, triggering regular GPS satellite location reporting which is trackable via the owner's phone app.
Other crucial information such as an animal's daily behaviour and even health data would be monitored by the collar, with information being uploaded to the cloud and displayed on the smart phone app.
"We are looking to put an accelerometer in the device which allows us to extract a lot of information, a bit like a Fit Bit," Dr Valencia said. "So you can tell when the animal's sleeping, or running, or moving around."
Dr Valencia has his own Maltese poodle at home which is likely to be the first test subject, and he has friends which very active puppies which he says would be even better.
"Trust me, there's no shortage of test subjects out there," he said with a laugh.
CSIRO's "Kick-Start" program, which provides funding and support for innovative Australian start-ups to access research and development, is behind the concept.
One dog which doesn't need set boundaries because she is recognisable all over Civic is Ellie the rescue staffy, who was showered with gifts from local businesses and their customers on her seventh birthday last month.
Twice a day for the past two years, owner Tom Peou has taken Ellie for a walk around Civic to the joy of customers sitting in local cafes, bars and restaurants.
Mr Peou says she's known far and wide for being the friendly dog that always has a toy in her mouth.
Two years ago Mr Peou found Ellie on the Pet Rescue website, where she had been put up for adoption by Shoalhaven Animal Shelter. Her profile said she had run away from an abusive breeder after being scared by fireworks.
"She had gunky eyes, no fur, was flea infested, and when they checked her microchip they tracked her down to a local breeder whom they were familiar with due to past dog abuse," Mr Peou said.
"Ellie doesn't have any top or bottom front teeth either, so the vet said she most likely spent 5 years of her life in a cage, gnawing away at the bars."
Despite the hardship Ellie has endured, Mr Peou says the remainder of her life will be filled with love, affection and always more plush toys.