Are you looking for ways to improve the mental health  and wellbeing of your students or clients in a group environment?

Our group programmes assist in breaking down barriers frequently faced in traditional treatment plans, allowing clients to engage in more ‘doing’ and less ‘talking’. All our groups are facilitated by at least one qualified and experienced mental health professional and animal assisted therapist, and a qualified and experienced certified dog handler.

Now Available on the Schools Mental Health Menu:

We are delighted to announce that our group programmes are now accepted as an evidence-based mental health service eligible for funding via Victoria’s Schools Mental Health Menu. Call 03 9761 0973 for more information.

Safe Paws – Dog safety

Suitable for early years, Kinder and Primary, this single 1-2 hour session is based on safe interactions with dogs, and understanding the differences between the school therapy dog and dogs in public settings. Children are taught how to safely ask, approach and greet a dog, and how to engage in mutually rewarding interactions

Suitable for: Adaptable for children ages 3 – 12 years. Groups up to 30 participants.

Friendly Paws – Diversity and inclusion

This single 1-2 hour session is based on engagement, group cohesion and inclusion. Children are provided with the opportunity to meet the dogs in small groups, developing an understanding of each dog’s own personality, strengths, preferences, learning style and family situation. After meeting all of the dogs, participants can engage in guided fun activities with the dogs such as tricks or games.

Suitable for: Adaptable for children and adolescents, ages 8 to 14 years. Group sizes up to 30 participants

Peaceful Paws – Mindfulness and stress management

This single 1-2 hour session is based on stress management skills, including mindfulness using a trauma informed model. Participants are encouraged to observe the unique ways that dogs manage physical and mental stress via ‘life lessons of dogs’ such as living in the moment. In small groups, the participants then engage in mindfulness-based relaxation skills with the dogs.

Suitable for: Adaptable for children 8 years to adults. Group sizes up to 30 participants

Happy Paws – Total wellbeing group

This total wellbeing group assists with social and emotional development including social inclusion, stress and anxiety management, problem solving and persistence, and team work. Participants learn about how to create a happy healthy life by learning the life skills of dogs through guided interactions and activities. Participants engage in a range of dog-led experiences, each linked to key wellbeing skills, including play, relaxation, dog-training, and developing an obedience/agility routine.

Suitable for: Adaptable for children, adolescents and young adults from ages 8 to 25 years. Group sizes of 6 – 8 participants

At Lead The Way: This group is currently also hosted by us at 5/91 Dorset Road Ferntree Gully 3156. Sessions run at 4.30pm on Wednesday afternoons during school term. We accept enrolments from young people in years 7 to 9 who would benefit from improving their wellbeing in a group environment. Please call reception to book a place.

Social Paws – Social skills group

This fun and interactive 8 – 10 session group programme is designed to assist children with the development of social skills, such as self awareness, self management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision making, all whilst having a great time doing activities with the therapy dogs! Like us, dogs are social creatures, and during interactions participants get to practice skills alongside the dogs, such as following the rules, greeting each other, problem solving or waiting your turn.

Suitable for: Adaptable for early, middle or upper primary aged children aged 5 – 12 years. Group sizes of approx. 6 participants.

At Lead The Way: This group is currently also hosted by us at 5/91 Dorset Road Ferntree Gully 3156. Sessions run at 4.30pm on Tuesday afternoons during school term. We accept enrolments from students in grades 3 – 6 who are attending a main stream school. Please call reception to book a place.

Call the friendly staff at Lead the Way for more information 03 9761 0973

Confident Paws – Confidence and communication

This brief 4 session wellbeing group focusses on confidence and communication skills along with the development of self awareness. Participants engage in guided experiences with the dogs, enabling them to learn the skills of self awareness, observation, and confident communication. There are underpinning themes of safety, respect and boundaries.

Suitable for: Adaptable for adolescents and young adults from ages 12 – 25 years. Group sizes up to 12 participants

Comfort Paws – Social recreation or drop in

Containing a flexible mix of structured and/or unstructured activities, this service allows agencies to enjoy the benefits of having a therapy dog visit to provide comfort, social interaction, recreational activities and enjoyment to their clients, students or residents. Teams can provide informal visits or be in attendance in group areas. This service is also ideal for client or staff wellbeing events. Having therapy dog and handler teams at your event can help to motivate and engage your audience, whilst providing happiness, stress reduction and time out from everyday demands. Teams in attendance respond to the client needs on the day, and these programmes are not pre-planned or curriculum based.

Suitable for: Adaptable for all ages and abilities. Book per dog-handler team per hour. Recommend one team per 5 – 10 participants

Manners that Matter Therapeutic Dog Training Group

The Manners that Matter Therapeutic Dog Training Group runs for 6 – 10 weeks and is designed for participants and their dogs, who may not engage in traditional Dog-Training or obedience classes. The group is designed to enhance the bond between dog and owner, and identify and overcome potential issues.

This group will assist participants to:

  • Develop simple and effective obedience skills
  • Understand the impact of owner behaviour on dogs
  • Improve understanding, communication & bonding between owner and dog
  • Enhance self efficacy, communication skills and empathy