About Lead the Way Institute

Lead the Way, based in Melbourne, Victoria, is an organisation dedicated to providing high quality clinical services to those in need, and training fellow professionals in the art and science of delivering Animal-Assisted Interventions.

FROM HUMBLE BEGINNINGS

Lead The Way was established in 2003 by Psychologist and Professional Dog Trainer Melanie G Jones. Seeing the degree of attachment between people and their animals inspired Melanie to begin investigating the Human-Animal Bond (HAB). In partnership with Monash University, Melanie began researching the efficacy of the interventions she was developing. By 2006 Melanie had developed a partnership with Greg Fontana to deliver the first ever Therapy Dog training course in the country. In 2009 the Psychology Clinic opened, offering child, adolescent and family counselling with the assistance of Therapy Dogs.

ONGOING RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

With a strong dedication to research and development, Lead The Way has remained at the forefront of the developing field of Animal-Assisted Interventions since its inception. Testament to this commitment, Melanie is currently undertaking her PhD at The University of Melbourne. Her PhD research explores the role of dogs and horses in psychology treatments for common mental health disorders. The completion of her PhD will result in Melanie further enhancing both the provision of clinical services at Lead the Way, and her ability to train others in the most up to date science of AAIs.

Seeing the importance of appropriate training, welfare, and clinical standards of those working in the AAI field, Melanie and a dedicated team of AAI professionals founded the Animal-Assisted Intervention Association of Australia (AAIAA). The AAIAA provides guidance, leadership and certainly in guidelines and standards of practice for AAI in Australia.

AAIAA Organisation Logo

Our Trainers

Lead the Way Institute

Melanie G Jones

Melanie G Jones is a Psychologist, Animal-Assisted Therapist and the Director of Lead the Way. She is also a Senior Canine Behavioural Trainer, with extensive experience in therapy- and therapeutic-dog training and certification. For over 15 years Melanie has studied, worked, and taught in the field of Animal-Assisted Interventions.  Melanie continues to expand her knowledge and skills, recently beginning her work in the training of facility and service dogs.

Animal-Assisted Intervention Association Logo
Alpha Canine Professional

Greg Fontana

Alpha Canine Professional & Lead the Way provide intensive courses for those who wish to train and certify their own Therapy-Dogs.

Greg Fontana, Training Director and founder of the Alpha Canine Group and its associated businesses, is one of the most experienced and respected dog-trainers in the industry. With over 20 years experience, his pioneering work on Canine Communication, Leadership Obedience and Good Behaviour Shaping ensures he is sought after to provide education and instruction to dog trainers worldwide.

Greg is the proprietor of the highly successful Boarding School For Dogs, which is renowned for training and rehabilitating the most difficult, ‘last chance’ dogs. In 1996 Greg founded Alpha Canine Professional, an umbrella group to oversee his many professional dog-training courses, and in 2009 began rescuing and training Canine Companions for families and therapy work.

Equine Fusion

Tama Green

Equine Fusion & Lead the Way provides training and certification for visiting facility/therapy horses.

Lead the Way Psychology Clinics

Child, Adolescent and Family Counselling & Psychology Services

In 2009 the Psychology Clinic opened, providing psychological counselling and Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) to children, adolescents and families. The Clinic, located in Boronia, provides quality clinical services to those in need across Melbourne’s east, including the Dandenong Ranges. We provide clients with the opportunity to work with a range of Therapy Animals, including dogs, cats, horses and even a rabbit!

For more information, or to book an appointment, please visit our Psychology Clinic Website www.leadtheway.com.au