About Lead the Way Institute

Lead the Way Australia, based in Melbourne, Victoria, is an organisation dedicated to providing high quality clinical services to those in need (via the psychology clinic), and training fellow professionals in the art and science of delivering animal-assisted interactions (AAI) via the Institute.

Lead The Way Institute graduated their first class of visiting therapy dog and handler teams in 2006.  As pioneers in therapy dog and AAI training in Australia, we have strived to set excellent standards in all that we do. We are proud to be the leaders, repeatedly providing our students with national ‘firsts’, such as the first course in therapy dog certification, the first advanced level training, and the first professional level certificate programme in AAI in Australia.

Our team of professionals are committed to ongoing learning and development, and strive to remain on the cutting edge of research and development in human-animal interactions, animal behaviour, and the human-animal bond.

Lead The Way Australia is delighted to have been granted full membership of the IAHAIO (International Association of Human-Animal Interaction Organisations)

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Our Trainers

Human animal bond

Melanie G Jones

Melanie G Jones is a psychologist, animal-assisted therapist (AAT) 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. Since 2002 Melanie has studied, worked, and taught in the field of animal-assisted interactions (AAI).

Melanie is also actively involved in research and development of AAI and AAT. For a list of Melanie’s published work, please see her Linked In profile here.

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Tanya Glasson

Tanya Glasson

Tanya works as Lead The Way’s operations manager. She is qualified as a senior canine behavioural trainer, veterinary nurse and practice manager. With over 10 years experience training dogs from puppy school to social rehabilitation Tanya remains hands on during our courses and classes for therapy, emotional-support and service dogs. In addition to her dog-training and management roles, Tanya develops and delivers the canine health and first aid modules on our courses.

Kim Hallworth

Kim is a qualified animal scientist, senior canine behavioural trainer and pastoral care worker. She works Lead The Way’s senior therapeutic dog trainer. With extensive experience in dog training and management of dog training kennels and services, Kim oversees much of the development of our courses and classes for therapy dogs, emotional support dogs, and assistance dogs.  Kim is also trained in providing care and support (including AAI) to individuals experiencing trauma and disadvantage, giving her a unique perspective on the power of the human-animal bond.

Samantha Leonardis

Sam is a qualified teacher and canine behavioural trainer. She has extensive experience in leadership and curriculum development in primary and secondary schools.  Sam provides animal assisted education to individuals and groups both inside school, and outside. She provides consultancy to the education sector on animal assisted policy and programme development.

Sam works as a dog training assistant in classes and on courses, in addition to her role as an animal-assisted educator.

Elani Schmidt

Elani is a registered psychologist, counsellor and animal assisted therapist. Whilst her primary role is providing psychological services via our psychology clinic, she also provides mental health support during courses such as the emotional support dog programme. Elani also provides assistance with therapeutic dog training whilst completing her qualification as a canine behavioural trainer.

Natalie Ladesic

Natalie is a qualified veterinary nurse, practice manager, and senior canine behavioural trainer. Natalie has over 10 years experience in practice management, whilst also developing a successful dog-training business.

Natalie provides administrative and training support to Lead The Way.

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