05/28/2013 03:46 EDT | Updated 07/28/2013 05:12 EDT

Puccini for pooches? Thousands of dogs expected at classical 'Doggie Jam'

TORONTO - Toronto Concert Orchestra conductor Kerry Stratton doesn't mind if the audience howls or barks at an upcoming event in the city.

After all, it's what the 43-piece classical orchestra signed up for when it landed the "Iams So Good! Doggie Jam" gig on June 8 at Echo Beach, next to Molson Canadian Amphitheatre.

"I will think this is one of the handful of occasions in Canada where the public actually reacts to a concert the way it feels in its heart," Stratton said in a telephone interview.

The outdoor show runs from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Tickets are available from Ticketmaster.

Arranger Bobby Herriot put together the classical canine-inspired medley, which includes "Hound Dog," "Bella Notte" from the film "Lady and the Tramp," "Cruella de Vil" from "101 Dalmatians," "(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window?" and "Who Let the Dogs Out?"

Stratton said the orchestra is used to unusual concerts, having played at venues including the floor of the old Toronto Stock Exchange and a Raptors basketball game at the Air Canada Centre. It also played at Echo Beach for a concert last year.

"I haven't played for dogs before but I like to include everybody," he said. "This is a fun, open-air, family concert."

The concert is named after Iams' new "So Good!" brand of dog food, which the company says is made with no added sugar, no dyes and no artificial preservatives.

It comes three years after hundreds of dogs and their owners attended a concert at the Sydney Opera House as part of the Vivid light festival.

Stratton said he's unsure of the effect classical music has on dogs (he has a Norwegian Forest Cat and fish), but he has noticed his plants "do very well in the room where the stereo is."

When he first heard he'd be taking a bow amid bow wows in Toronto, he thought, "Why not?"

"The fact that you can go to a concert and have fun is a great thing," said Stratton, also conductor of the Wish Opera and has worked with orchestras around the world.

"Concert-going used to be that way in the late 19th century and the early part of the 20th — I would describe it as an eclectic hootenanny — and it would be lovely to return to some aspects of that."