Watch D.O.G. Dads

  • To sign-up to be a Watch D.O.G. for a particular day, please click the button below

    Click to View Volunteer Opportunities on VolunteerSpot

    Watch D.O.G.S is an innovative father-involvement, educational initiative of the National Center for Fathering. There are 2 primary goals for the Watch D.O.G.S. program:  

    1) To provide positive male role models for the students, demonstrating by their presence that education is important.

    2) To provide extra sets of eyes and ears to enhance school security and reduce bullying.

    WATCH D.O.G.S. began in 1998 in a single school in Springdale, Arkansas and has since grown into a national recognized program that has brought hundreds of thousands of fathers and father figures into the school classrooms and hallways across the country, creating millions of hours of “in school” volunteer time and having a tremendously positive impact on the educational process. Today more than 4,049 schools in 46 states plus DC participate in WATCH D.O.G.S. Currently, there are WATCH D.O.G.S. programs in China, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Barbados.

    Who Are WatchDOGS? WatchDOGS are fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and other father-figures who volunteer for at least one day each year at an official WATCH D.O.G.S. school. During the day, WatchDOGS may read and work on flash cards with students, play at recess, eat lunch with students, watch the school entrances and hallways, assist with traffic flow and any other assigned activities where they actively engage with not only their own students, but other students as well. Many school principals have reported that the mere presence of a WatchDOG dramatically reduces reports of bullying. On the day of their participation, WatchDOGS are given a brief review of their involvement and they wear an official WATCH D.O.G.S. t-shirt with a disposable ‘Dog Tag’ identifying them as WATCHDOGS.

    How WATCH D.O.G.S. Works:  A K-12 program, invites fathers, grandfathers, uncles, or other father figures to volunteer at least one full day at their child’s/student’s school during the school year. Individuals sign up at a ‘Launch Event’ such as a “Dads and Kids Pizza Night” or “Donuts with Dad” or in the office at any time throughout the school year. The program is overseen by a “Top Dog” volunteer who partners with the school administrator to coordinate scheduling and identify opportunities for WatchDOGS to provide assistance at the school. WatchDOGS volunteers perform a variety of tasks during their volunteer day including monitoring the school entrance, assisting with unloading and loading of buses and cars, monitoring the lunch room, or helping in the classroom with a teacher’s guidance by working with small groups of students on homework, flashcards, or spelling.

    Program Effectiveness: During 2003, WATCH D.O.G.S. conducted a survey of 50 participating schools nationwide. Key findings:

    Program Benefits

    • Students gain positive male role models.
    • Schools gain an extra set of eyes and ears. The presence of a father or father figure will provide an additional deterrent to bullying, enhance a sense of security in the building, and will help to create an environment conducive to learning.
    • Fathers get a glimpse of their students’ everyday world and learn about the increasingly complex challenges and decisions today’s youth are facing. As a result, they can learn to relate better to their student and hopefully connect with them.
    • Fathers gain a greater awareness of the positive impact they can have on their student’s life in three critical areas including: academic performance, self-esteem, social behavior.
    • Due to budget shortfalls and cutbacks, often teachers are presented with larger classrooms each year. Fathers and father figures (aka WatchDOGS) provide real and important help for the teachers and the students.

    For more information on the Watch D.O.G.S. program, click here: Watch D.O.G.S.

    For frequently asked questions about the program, click here FAQ about Watch D.O.G.S.

    To see a sample daily schedule, click here.

    Here are just a few testimonials about the program:

    Arne Duncan
    U.S. Secretary of Education
    White House Press Release, September 23, 2009

    “It’s the best way for dads to deliver the message, “Your education is important enough for me to take the time from work to help.”


    “Top Dog” Dad Bill Funk
    Fern Elementary School
    Round Rock, TX

    “I think that this program has helped dads feel that they are not only welcome at school but that they are needed at school.”


    “Top Dog” Dad John Ramirez
    Encino Park Elementary
    San Antonio, TX

    “When you get a few dads together and they see the positive impact this program provides, the energy is addicting and suddenly you have more dads than you have days for them to have the opportunity to be a Big Dog!”