First Week of Adoption

For the first week in a new home, a dog will be going through what’s known as decompression. Here are some tips to make the transition successful:

  • Let the dog acclimate to the home slowly.
  • Don’t overwhelm the dog with friends and activities beyond basic walks and care for at least the first four days in the home.
  • Make daily routine as predictable as possible. Predictability reduces stress for dogs. 

Introductions to Resident Animals

If you have resident animals, make sure to take time to do a slow introduction. Time share the space between your resident animals and the adoptive dog before introducing. If you have resident cats, make sure they have plenty of high places and private areas to access where the dog will not be able to bother them. Litter boxes and cat food areas should not be accessible by the dog.

Introductions to incumbent dogs will all have unique parameters, however, introductions should occur outside in a neutral area. Please read the brief tip sheet How to Introduce Dogs before introductions.

This is a good overview of cat and dog introductions.

Veterinary Care

You’ll want to get your dog set up with a vet as soon as possible so that they can prescribe a heartworm/flea/tick preventative and so that you’re on their schedule for yearly vaccinations.

Recommended Veterinary Practices in the Portland Area

Wildwood Veterinary Clinic
3734 SW Moody Ave, Portland, OR 97239
(503) 477-4757

Brooklyn Yard Veterinary Hospital
1280 SE Holgate Blvd. Portland, OR 97202
(503) 505-9112

Getting your pup used to visiting the vet when healthy is also a great way to help prevent stress if they ever need to go when sick.


As an added benefit to our adopters, OTATpdx is proud to now offer a complimentary 30 day pet insurance plan through PetFirst. This plan offers coverage for accidents and illnesses, with some exclusions, as described on the document. The plan goes into effect immediately once the adopter calls the number on the document to enroll, so please do so right away. From there, you can follow the provided instructions to submit an insurance claim after a vet visit in order to receive reimbursement from PetFirst. After the 30 day period, you can choose to pay for a continued insurance policy, or discontinue.

Download the details on how to get your dog signed up for a complimentary 30 day pet insurance plan.

Registering your dog

Most counties require registering companion animals within 30 days of adopting. Make sure you check to see what your county requires.

Adjusting & Training

Our Dog Resource Guide offers simple solutions to problems you may face such as unwanted barking, mouthiness, housebreaking and more. You will also find information about supplies and ideas on how to adjust to life with your new dog.

We work with a local positive-reinforcement, humane trainers who we love:

Mega Hearts Dog & Cat Training

Power Skill Training

Pawsitive Pooch Training

Health & Nutrition

Health and nutrition play a huge part to a dog’s well-being and success. Here are a few local pets stores we love that will help you discover the perfect balance. Tell them you adopted an OTAT dog to receive a discount!

For Paws

NoPo Paws

The Filling Station

Theo’s Fund

Theo’s Fund was created as a way for OTAT PDX to care for dogs suffering from medical problems or needing on-going treatment to remain healthy and happy. Funds from Theo’s Fund also help dogs that have already been adopted. Theo’s Fund allows OTAT PDX adopters to apply for up to $500 in assistance in paying for unexpectedly large veterinary bills. Email for more information.

Safety Tips

  • Dogs should always wear their collar and tags. It can help them be reunited faster should they go missing. Just because your dog is indoors doesn’t mean it’s safe to take off their collar — dogs can get startled bolt out doors that are only open for a moment. A collar/ID tag will get the dog returned faster. Not everyone knows to scan for a microchip, you want to make it easy on people to return the dog or else they might not even try. It also indicates the dog definitely belongs to someone and, if an address is included, how far they’ve gone.
  • Only use fixed leashes. Retractable leashes, also known as flexi-leashes, are dangerous. Not only do they not allow you to be properly in control of your leashed dog, but they can cause injury to people and other dogs and have even lead to amputations.
  • Dogs should always be on leash unless you are in a specifically off leash area. No matter how well trained your dog may be, it’s the law in most places that dogs must be leashed, and it’s only fair to other people who’s dogs may not do well will being approached by off leash dogs. 
  • Be aware of how weather affects your dog. Walking on pavement in extreme heat or snow can damage your dog’s paws. Check out these links for more information on hot weather care and cold weather care.

Lost dog protocol

  1. Let us know right away if an OTAT dog is lost.
  2. Post lost ads to Multnomah County Animal Services, Craigslist, NextDoor
  3. Leave the dog’s crate/bed/things that smell like them and food outside the house at all times
  4. Make flyers! 1 clear, color photo of the dog’s face with age, weight, name, phone number, last seen details, and word or two about personality (“shy, don’t chase” or “friendly, loves treats!”). Don’t make it too long/complicated or people won’t read. Post everywhere, neon paper makes a good backdrop. In plastic sleeves will keep from rain. Posting flyers is important because it alerts folks like postal workers who walk around all day to keep an eye out. Sometimes a vague mention of a reward (without a dollar amount) is helpful. Another reason for flyers is not everyone knows or can see online posts. 
  5. Keep online posts current.
  6. The sooner all this happens, the better. 

If you find a stray dog

We’re often contacted by folks who have found stray dogs. We are not legally able to take in stray dogs. Please follow the following steps outlined on If you know anyone who has found a stray dog, please direct them to that resource.