DOG PRODUCT REVIEW: Adopting a dog? Here’s A Sound Beginning

A step-by-step guide designed for those adopting a dog to prevent mistakes and create a positive start from the very first day you bring your new dog home. 

By Laura Pakis, Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Blogger,

Recently I had the opportunity to interview Pat Rattray, the Training Director of A Sound Beginning and co-author of “Adopting a Dog? Start off right with … A Sound Beginning“.

I first heard of the book on KSCO Pet Radio and wanted more information since it sounded like something anyone who is thinking or has recently adopted a dog would want to read.

A Sound Beginning is designed to prevent mistakes and create a positive start from the very first day you bring your new dog home. It includes a step by step guide to safely introduce kids, new adults and other pets, and establish a routine that will build trust and confidence to last a lifetime.  The owner only needs to read a chapter per day when working with the dog.


“My whole life revolves around saving dogs,” states Rattray.  “I have 26 years working with rescue boxers and new owner success.  In addition, both Julie Dorsey-Oskerka and herself have taught obedience classes of all kinds.

They saw that most dog owners didn’t have the observational skills that dog trainers saw.  They noticed many fearful and anxious dogs being placed in stressful situations and failing.  They felt a need to educate people on canine body language.

Then in October 2012, Pat Rattray heard about a study on shelter dogs provided by Pet Smart Charities.  During the research she learned that of the dogs returned to a shelter, 26.7% were returned during the first 2 weeks.  This appeared to be the time frame when most dogs are in jeopardy.

Pat Rattray and Julie Dorsey-Oskerka decided then and there to target their book on helping new dog owners build a bond with their dog in the first 14 days.


Adopter with resident dog

Don’t just walk in the front door, introduce the dogs properly, bring resident dog out, do parallel walking outside with both dogs while walking, and use double gates inside.

Adopter with no dog

Creating a safe place is critical, taking it slow with introductions, slow is better than fast (dog needs to learn to trust), when you feed the dog, leave him alone.


With sales well over 5,000, A Sound Beginning has been a true success to both owners and adopted dogs.  The book has lead to classes which can be on-line or in-home.  Pilot class offerings  are available to veterinarian clinics and dog shelters.  The program has spread from Australia to Spain.

Currently, pilot and instructor classes are going on now at the Humane Society of Indiana. There are also ongoing classes in the Chicagoland area. Books are available to dog shelters nationwide at a discount.

Pat and Julie’s goal is to spread the word on this book.  They are working on an instructor pilot program in Florida and hope to offer instructor classes to dog trainers in a few years.

In the meantime, if you are interested in purchasing the book which includes a CD solo that calms dogs, visit their website at

Acme Canine gives this book 4 paws for content and subject matter.  A must for every adopter and shelter!

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