Bringing a dog home for the first time may seem easy, but there's a lot to consider. This graphic from the Santa Fe Animal Shelter is a quick primer to what you need to know and consider before your first furry companion comes home with you.
The guide speaks for itself, but perhaps the most important thing about it is that you should really start thinking about your new pet before you go pick them up. A dog should never be an impulse purchase, and they're a long term commitment — you should be ready for that, and as long as you are, you'll have a friend for life. From making sure you have a collar or harness, the right iD tags (and that you get your dog chipped), to making sure you have a bed for your dog to sleep in, a play area for them cordoned off, and all the right food and toys, a lot goes into preparing before your pet even comes home.
Then once they are home, a lot of that preparation goes out the window, but it's still important to make sure you help them get settled. Go easy on the trip home so they don't get sick or frightened in your car, then when they're home, introduce them to where their toilet area is going to be. Give them space to play, and reward them for playing in it. Take your time bonding with them too — don't expect them to immediately trust and understand you. With some patience, you'll both get along just fine.
A Guide to Bringing a Dog Home for the First Time [Santa Fe Animal Shelter]