We understand that the bond owners have with their companion, support or assistance dogs is unique and powerful – and by fostering and enhancing that relationship, we can enhance the wellbeing of owners and dogs.

We provide:

  • Therapeutic Dog Training – a unique combination of psychological counselling and dog-training with your own dog

  • Assessments for suitability to own a companion or emotional support animal

  • Emotional Support Dog training – learn how to make the most of your relationship with your dog, and get the emotional support you require

These services are provided by our registered Psychologists with dual qualifications in professional dog-training, or teams of qualified mental health professionals and dog-trainers.

Therapeutic Dog-Training© is a unique combination of psychological counselling and dog-training.

Dogs are integral and important members of the family, and can respond in unhelpful ways to conflict or stress. Therapeutic Dog Training© allows individuals or families to work through their own personal and psychological issues whilst simultaneously training their dog to overcome problem or concerning behaviours. Via this unique service, humans and dogs can bring out the best in each other.

This service may occur in your own home, at our Psychology Clinic, or a combination of both. We recommend at least one session in the dog’s own home. Therapeutic Dog Training© can;

  • Develop skills by learning life lessons of dogs including mindfulness, playfulness, and relaxation
  • Improve healthy communication skills
  • Develop a greater appreciation of boundaries, respect, co-operation and consistency
  • Understand the impact of human stress on dogs, and learn ways to manage this (both for the dog and the humans)
  • Identify & manage unhelpful patterns of behaviour in ourselves and our dog
  • Develop skills to effectively train your dog to be a happy and social member of society
  • Address any behavioural problems your dog experiences and make links to your own role in contributing to or remedying these problems
  • Improve your understanding, communication and bonding with your dog(s)

Please note: For health and safety reasons, all dogs attending our centre must be up to date with vaccinations (c5) and parasite control (fleas & worms). Our highly trained staff are accompanied by their own trained and certified Therapy and Demonstration Dogs. Home visits will incur additional charges.

Call our friendly reception team at Lead the Way on (03) 9761 0973 to book an appointment.

We also provide assessment, training and support for those people who have, or would like to have an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) or Emotional Support Dog (ESD).

Companion, Service or Emotional Support Dog?

Companion, Service or Emotional Support Dog?
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Assessment of suitability for companion, support or service animal

“Would my child benefit from a dog?”

“What type of animal is right for me?”

We are often asked if a family member would benefit from having a dog or other animal in their lives to offer love, companionship and support. While some people will do extremely well with an animal by their side (provided they have the right supports) for others an animal may not be the best fit. To be an effective emotional support animal, it must be well suited to the person – for example some people will be naturally drawn to dogs, cats or rabbits. There are also important breed/type and personality traits to consider. How will the animal fit your lifestyle? Will they be active or cuddly? Shedding or not? How would you like them to respond to you? What kind of environment will they live in?

An assessment can help individuals and families determine if an animal is going to be the right fit, by assessing the following areas;

  • Capacity to look after an animal, including resources, supports, time, space, and emotional stability
  • Preferences and interactions with animals
  • How an animal could provide support or companionship
  • Animal’s temperament and behavioural requirements
  • Ongoing support and training necessary

The assessment is designed to provide guidance with the type of animal species, and role that would be most beneficial to the individual (e.g. companionship, emotional support or service dog). Assessments may also include gathering information from other relevant professionals or service providers including medical professionals, schools, Occupational Therapists etc. Assessments can be used to assist the individual or family to find the animal that is most likely to be the best fit for them.

To book an Assessment, please ensure you schedule at least two appointments. Please bring any assessments (e.g. cognitive, neuro-psych, sensory profile) or reports you have that may assist with the Assessment. You will be able to meet our Therapy Animals during your session if appropriate.

Call our friendly reception team at Lead the Way on (03) 9761 0973 to book an appointment.

Emotional Support Dog training

“I bought a dog! Now what?”

“My dog is my life and supports me in so many ways, but their barking is making me miserable!”

Many families tell me they have bought a dog to provide emotional support, but for one reason or another, it is not everything they thought it would be. For some, the dog has become afraid of the child who is having melt-downs, for others it is the child who is afraid of the excitable dog who jumps or nips. Other people find that although the dog is wonderful in so many ways, they have a naughty behaviour that is making life difficult. In some cases, people are just not exactly sure how to make the most of their relationship with their dog, and feel like they could be ‘doing more’.

If you have a companion dog who provides you with emotional support, or If any of these things sound like you, then our Emotional Support Dog Training is ideal for you. We offer two distinct group training programs;

  • Full-Time Intensive – a five-day program ideal for those who can attend the centre each day (with a support person if required); OR
  • A part-time program – for those who couldn’t manage the intensive program, with only 2 days attendance required by individual participants, and the remainder is attended by parents/carers.

To find out more, or to enroll in these programs, please head over to Lead The Way Institute.