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.


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.


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.

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

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

Tanya Glasson

Tanya is a Senior Canine Behavioural Trainer & Veterinary Nurse with 10 years experience training dogs from puppyhood, to social rehabilitation and therapy, emotional-support and service dogs. Tanya provides training and support on our courses, in addition to her role as the Operations Manager at Lead The Way.

Toni Ashurst

Toni works both as a dog trainer on our courses, and as a Certified Handler in our clinical programmes. Toni is a Senior Canine Behavioural Trainer who brings her extensive experience in working clinically with therapy dogs in a range of settings from hospitals, to disability and schools.

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