Vaccines are biological agents administered to a healthy animal in order to give that animal immunity against a specific disease or condition.
Vaccinations generally contain minute doses of de-activated microorganisms that in their live state, could potentially cause illness or disease. Introducing a minute amount of the de-activated agent of a vaccinate disease causes the body to recognize it as an invasive agent without being exposed to the risk of the live form of the infection or organism. This triggers the immune system of the dog to fight off the agent, and so, build up antibodies against it that will remain in place to fight off the live form of the micro-organism in future, should the dog become exposed to it.
Not every potentially dangerous condition or illness can be vaccinated against, and even among those that can, what conditions are vaccinated against as standard vary from country to country, depending on the prevalence of the condition within the canine population as a whole.
In the UK, each condition that we commonly vaccinate dogs against requires a different vaccination agent.
Why do puppies need vaccinations?
Vaccinations are the most important way to safeguard the long-term health and wellness of dogs and puppies within the UK, and when the vast majority of dogs within a given area or country are vaccinated, this reduces the risk factors for all of the dogs in the area, even those that are not vaccinated. Vaccinating dogs and puppies are therefore very important, not just for the ongoing health and well-being of each individual dog, but for the overall health and condition of the dog population within the UK.
While adult dogs can be vaccinated at any age against the main transmissible conditions that they may come into contact with, vaccination is especially important for puppies and young dogs. As a dog ages, their immune systems develop and strengthen alongside of their physical development, giving them a greater chance of fighting off any potential disease or condition that they may come into contact with. Puppies and young dogs have not yet had the chance to build and strengthen their immune systems by means of exposure to the outside world, and so the risk factors for their developing or catching any illness or infection that they may come into contact with while young is much higher than it is for adult dogs.
Puppies are much more prone to developing both minor and major illnesses during their first few weeks and months of life than fully-grown dogs. This is why veterinary surgeons strongly advise all puppy owners not to allow their pups outside of the home or into contact with other dogs until they have received their initial vaccinations and have had time to develop the full protection offered by them.
What do vaccinations protect against?
In the UK, the core vaccines, which are recommended for all dogs as a standard are:
Adenovirus (Infectious Canine Hepatitis) Canine Parvovirus Canine Distemper
The World Small Animal Veterinary Association does not think of Leptospirosis as a core vaccine, however, because the disease is so common in the UK, vets think it is essential to provide protection for your dog.
Non-core vaccines, which are also options are:
Canine Parainfluenza Virus (Kennel Cough). This is made up from several pathogens, and Bordetella is the most seen. Kennels generally require dogs to have had this vaccine. Canine Herpes Virus – this generally effects pregnant bitches and young puppies, so your vet may recommend it. Rabies is considered to have been eliminated within the UK, but if you are planning to take your dog abroad, you will require a pet passport, and part of this involves vaccination against rabies.
All dogs should be vaccinated and have their vaccinations kept up-to-date, this is part of being a responsible dog owner and will be your responsibility.
Puppies should receive 2 vaccinations, the first at around 8 to 10 weeks of age and the second, two weeks later at around 10 to 12 weeks of age. Puppies should not be allowed outside until 7 days after their second injection. Older Dogs require booster vaccinations occasionally as recommended by their Vet.
If the seller has not vaccinated their dog/puppy, then it will be your responsibility to make sure this is done straight away.
Many responsible dog breeders will keep their puppies longer, and make sure they have been fully vaccinated before they let them go to new homes.
If the seller has said the dog/puppy is vaccinated, please make sure you receive the dogs vaccination record paperwork.
American Bullies are happy characters and because they were developed to be companions, they form extremely strong ties with their owners. They may look tough, but in reality, American Bullies are real softies and boast having “fawning” natures and they love nothing more than to spend as much time as possible with the people they love. As such, they make wonderful family pets and are not “one man dogs” whatsoever.
American Bullies are also known to be exceptionally good around children, with this said, as with any other breed, children must never be left unsupervised around then and they should be taught how to behave around dogs and dogs must be well socialized from a young enough age too in order for them to mature into good matured canine companions.
As a rule of thumb, American Bullies are tolerant around people they don’t already know and are known to be friendly and polite when they meet strangers. Some American Bullies are more suspicious of strangers than others, but in general they are all too happy to greet people with excitement. They are, however, naturally protective of their families but it is worth noting that this trait is always done calmly, much like an English Bulldog which means they are good watchdogs.
Being intelligent and eager to please, many American Bullies have been trained to compete in different canine sporting activities making them versatile by nature. However, they are not a good choice for first time dog owners because American Bullies need to know their place in the pack and who is “alpha dog” in a household for them to be truly well-balanced, happy characters. If they are not well handled from a young age, an American Bully may take on the role of dominant dog. With this said, in the right hands and environment, American Bullies are not generally known to “challenge” authority, but they will not follow commands blindly either.
Although eager to please, some American Bullies are known to have a bit of a stubborn streak which is why many breed enthusiasts recommend training them on a reward basis which works very well. The reason being that American Bullies will do almost anything for a treat.
American Bullies are relaxed and calm by nature but this does not mean they are “couch potatoes”. They enjoy being out and about doing things, more especially playing interactive games although fetching a ball may get a little too boring for an American Bully after the first few throws.
Are they a good choice for first-time owners?
American Bullies are not a good choice for first-time dog owners because they may get the better of them. This could result in a dog taking on the role of a dominant dog making them much harder to handle and live with.
What about prey drive?
American Bully breeders have done a lot of work to reduce a dog’s prey drive, but it is still extremely important for these dogs to be well socialized, correctly handled and trained by people who are familiar with the breed’s needs. With this said, even a well-trained American Bully should not be fully trusted around small animals they have not grown up with.
What about playfulness?
American Bullies are known to be very playful and fun-loving by nature and they enjoy messing around with the kids whenever they can.
What about adaptability?
American Bullies are very adaptable by nature and providing they are given enough daily exercise combined with lots of mental stimulation, they are just as happy living in an apartment in town as they would be living in a house in the country.
What about excessive barking?
American Bullies are not known to be “barkers” and will generally only voice an opinion when necessary or during playtime.
Do American Bullies like water?
Like many other breeds, some American Bullies love being in and around water, whereas others do not like getting their feet wet.
Are American Bullies good watchdogs?
American Bullies are very people-oriented, but they do make good watchdogs with some dogs being more suspicious of strangers and more alert than some other American Bullies. With this said, their impressive “looks” are often enough to put wrongdoers off approaching an American Bully when they are on their own territory.
Intelligence / Trainability
American Bullies are highly intelligent and always eager to please although some dogs can have a bit of a stubborn streak. With this said, in the right hands and environment, American Bullies are very trainable and they respond well to positive reinforcement and treat-based training methods. Training and socialization must start early and it must be consistent throughout a dog’s life because an American Bully may take on the dominant role in a household if they are not correctly handled and taught their place in the pack which is why they are not a good choice for novice dog owners.
Puppies need to be taught the basic commands straight away which includes the following:
Come Sit Stay Quiet Leave it Down Bed
Children and Other Pets
American Bullies adore being around children and love nothing more than to play interactive games with them. However, they can be protective of their families which means that when the children have friends over, it’s best to keep an eye on things and never leave any dog unsupervised around children.
Although breeders have done their best to breed “aggressiveness” out of American Bullies, the breed is still known to be “dog aggressive”. However, they are a lot more tolerant of other dogs than some other breeds. With this said, unneutered American Bullies are more dog aggressive and territorial than their neutered counterparts and same-sex aggression and dominance can be an issue.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.