Mental Health Menu

  • Canine Comprehension


    Tier 1: Positive Mental Health Promotion
    Tier 2: Early Intervention Cohort Specific Support

    Program Description

    The Canine Comprehension School Program is an 8 session therapy program assisted by dogs that aims to support students struggling with connection at school.

    The 8-week program uses an assistance dog to cater for small groups that run for 50 minutes a week. Each program has specific learning content and mindfulness resources. Schools can choose from seven different therapy programs to best meet the needs of their students and includes the following:

    • Communication on the inside and out
    • Friendship and responsibility
    • Beyond lockdowns
    • Grief and loss
    • Reading tails
    • Our library community
    • Flexible thinking

    The Dog for a Day program improves mental health outcomes of the whole school community. A Canine Comprehension Tutor and Dog team spend an entire school day visiting students who need their time most. This “drop-in” experience can be planned as a for a school-wide event, or a specific cohort of students.

    Detailed Cost

    All 8 session programs are $3,200 inc. GST. This price is all inclusive for the 8-session program, materials etc, with up to 10 students per group.

    Dog for a day is $920.00 per day, inc GST.

    Travel costs may need to be negated for regional areas.

    Implementation Considerations

    Target population: Students in P-12 who have a broad spectrum of needs and personalities.

    Program adaptability: Programs are written in a manner that allow tutors to change and amend the program to suit the needs of the group. Different program options allow schools to select the most relevant content for their students.

    Staffing: One school staff member needs to be present for each session, observing and sometimes participating in the session.

    Training requirements: There is no pre-requisite training. The use of a quiet room where there is enough space for the participants to sit in a large circle is required.

    Factors to consider: Maximum of 10 students per group.

    Australian context: The program is available in many areas across Melbourne, including the Western, Northern, Southern, Eastern suburbs and Central Melbourne. If your school is located in outer and rural regions, Canine Comprehension encourages schools to contact them to ask about the availability of their services in your area. The team is happy to help and provide information tailored to each school's location.

    Strength of Evidence

    Level 3: Foundational and emerging evidence for program

    Geographic Location


    Intended Outcomes

    * Improve student interpersonal and social skills
    * Improve student emotion management
    * Enable better connections at school