Erdtree Burial Watchdog is an early boss in Elden Ring.
This optional encounter can be found in the Stormfoot Catacombs, found in the west of the Limgrave overworld.
You shouldn't have to prepare for this boss - though it's recommended you bring a shield. The Erdtree Burial Watchdog reward is not worth going out of your way for, but if you're a completionist, then that probably won't matter.
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How to prepare for Erdtree Burial Watchdog
Since it's an early game battle, you don't have to necessarily prepare - we managed to defeat Erdtree Burial Watchdog without needing to level up or put in other kinds of preparation.
That said, if you are finding it difficult, then running the Stormfoot Catacombs area a few times to earn Runes and defeating the enemies within to level a couple of times, or simply returning later - it is optional after all - are good options.
Erdtree Burial Watchdog tips: How to beat Erdtree Burial Watchdog
This battle will teach you the defensive power of the shield, as most strikes can be fully blocked if you have enough stamina. Whether the incoming attacks hit hard enough to knock out all your stamina, or just a little, provided you are defending it should keep you safe.
During regular attacks, back away and hold your shield up when it's about to strike, and drop the shield temporarily to replenish when you are sure you won't be attacked. However, always be quick to raise it if you think an attack is coming thereafter.
As long as you are cautious, you can block most attacks in this battle with no damage to your health. From there, it's a case of judging when you can get a quick attack in of your own before raising your shield again.
The most challenging attack is when the Watchdog hovers in the air and strikes down with its sword. The problem is it'll do this over and over again, and catch you in a loop where you cannot defend yourself if you time any further dodges poorly - leading to defeat.
To counter this, roll away from the first attack - this is the easiest to judge, as when it's rising up and both arms are clasped on the blade, you should then roll before it comes back down - then run away until it finishes the remaining attacks. You'll have to stop locking on to do this, so keep turning back with your camera to see whether it has finished.
There are two particular attacks which give you a welcome window to attack or heal. One is when it stands on its hind legs and advances. It's hard to dodge, so just block with your shield, then get two quick attacks in before it reverts back to normal.
The other is the flame attack. You can either back away safely and heal while you wait it out, or if you are positioned correctly, can advance round the back and circle while it spits fire in the opposite direction. Attacking can mean the head will 'catch up' with you, so wait until you are sure the fire is about to cease before doing so.
Another attack where you can reliably get a breather - whether to attack or defend - is when it holds the sword out to the side, before spinning round. Simply back away when this happens, then quickly rush in to attack, or use the opportunity to heal.
With the above in mind, most attacks should be predictable enough with a degree of practice. Know that as well as the downward lunge which can catch you in a loop without being able to defend yourself, there is a simple sword swipe it'll do over and over which can do the same.
The difference here is you can roll out of it eventually, meaning you should escape without losing all your health, and allow you to raise our shield to avoid further damage before soon backing away completely to heal.
Once you have settled on a starting class and starting Keepsake item, you should first work out how to level up, how to respec and use Ashes of War. Need some direction from there? Our Elden Ring walkthrough and Elden Ring boss order can help with where to go next, but we also recommend hunting down Golden Seeds, Sacred Tears, Crystal Tears, Talismans and some of our best weapon and best armor choices. If you are approaching the end game, we can help with the Volcano Manor quest and Rykard, Haligtree Secret Medallion locations, solving the Ordina, Liturgical Town puzzle, the Millicent quest, Commander Niall, Morgott, Godskin Duo, Maliketh and Malenia.
Erdtree Burial Watchdog reward
With that collected, you can warp back to the start of the dungeon.