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Watchdog is an algorithmic feature for APM performances and infrastructure metrics that automatically detects potential application and infrastructure issues. Watchdog observes trends and patterns in:

Watchdog looks for irregularities in metrics, like a sudden spike in the hit rate. For each irregularity, the Watchdog page displays a Watchdog story. Each story includes a graph of the detected metric irregularity and gives more information about the relevant timeframe and endpoint or endpoints. To avoid false alarms, Watchdog only reports issues after observing your data for a sufficient amount of time to establish a high degree of confidence.

Story details

Clicking on the story shows further details about the detected irregularity:

The graph in this story shows the latency values of the ELB in three different availability zones. Watchdog detected similar anomalies in this metric from a single load balancer enabled in three availability zones, and automatically grouped these findings together in a single story. After a period of consistently low latency, the metric in all three AZs rises sharply—in the highlighted area of the graph, which indicates the timeframe of the anomaly.

Expected bounds

Selecting Show expected bounds in the upper-right corner reveals upper and lower thresholds of expected behavior on the graph.

Archiving Stories

Use the folder icon in the upper-right corner of a story to archive it. Archiving hides the story from the feed, as well as other places in the Datadog application, like the home page. If a story is archived, the yellow Watchdog binoculars icon does not show up next to the relevant service or resource.

To see archived stories, select the checkbox option to “Show N archived stories” in the top left. You can also see who archived each story and when, and restore archived stories to your feed.

Note: Archiving does not prevent Watchdog from flagging future issues related to the service or resource.

Dependency Map

When an anomaly appears in one service, there’s often a corresponding anomaly in a related service. For example, if one service’s database queries get throttled, any downstream service will experience elevated latency. You need to troubleshoot this not as two separate issues, but rather as one issue stemming from a single root cause.

Watchdog automatically groups related APM anomalies into a single story whenever it detects an issue that affects multiple services. The story then includes a dependency map that shows the service where the issue originated and the downstream dependencies that were affected. This allows you to quickly understand the impact of the issue and provides insight on where to look for the root cause.

The screenshot below shows a Watchdog story, starting with a summary of the issue and a graph highlighting the anomaly. Below that, a dependency map illustrates the full scope of the problem: the issue is rooted in the ad-server-http-client service, and it also affects the downstream services web-store and web-store-mongo. Below the dependency map, a table lists the affected services and displays hit rate, latency, and error rate metrics. In this case, the data in the table indicates that latency in the downstream services also increased.

To speed up further investigations, Datadog may suggest some of your dashboards that are related to the story. In this case, Datadog will highlight which of the dashboard’s metrics are related to the insights in the story.


Monitors associated with your stories are displayed at the bottom. Each monitor displayed has the metric of the current story and its associated tags included in its scope.

Additionally, Watchdog suggests one or more monitors that are configured to trigger if the story happens again. Click the Enable Monitor button to enable them for your organization. See the Watchdog monitor documentation to learn how to create a Watchdog monitor.

Filter Stories

You can use the time range, search bar, or facets to filter your Watchdog stories:

Time range

Use the time range selector in the upper right to view stories detected in a specific time range. You can view any story that happened in the last 13 months, going back to March 2019.

Typing in the Filter stories search box enables you to search over your story titles.


Facets are associated with your Watchdog stories, allowing you to filter them by:

Story CategoryDisplay all apm or all infrastructure stories.
Story TypeWhich metrics from APM or infrastructure integrations stories should be displayed.
APM EnvironmentThe APM Environment to display stories from.
APM Primary TagThe defined APM primary tag to display stories from.
APM ServiceThe APM Service to display stories from.

Watchdog in the Services List

When an irregularity in a metric is detected, the yellow Watchdog binoculars icon appears next to the affected service in the APM Services List. The number next to the binoculars indicates the number of issues Watchdog has noticed within that service.

If Watchdog has discovered something out of the ordinary in a specific service, viewing the corresponding Service page reveals a dedicated Watchdog section in the middle of the page, between the application performance graphs and the latency distribution section. The Watchdog section displays any relevant Watchdog Stories.


Need help? Contact Datadog support.

Further Reading