Dr. Edward Bassingthwaite - Empathy - The Bridge to Understanding and Connection - Not Just For Dogs

Welcome to the Soul Touched by Dogs
Podcast, the show for dog lovers who

see dogs not as toys or tools, but
wise souls worth our respect and care.

I'm an Herrmann, and I'm your host.

I talk to poor some humans, people who
do great work for dogs and their people.

So come and join us for
today's conversation.


Anke: and welcome.

Welcome back, Dr Edward.

I'm super excited

Dr. Edward: to have you here.

Well, I'm very happy to be here too.

I really love having, you know, deep
conversations about things that are

important when it comes to connecting
with animals and building deeper

relationship And rapport with them.

Anke: Wonderful.

So you've already hinted
at, um, at the topic.


Tell us about empathic training and
empathy in the relationship with our

Dr. Edward: dogs.


So, um, we're we're teaching I know
we're talking about dogs primarily,

but, you know, I work with Lots of
different animals, and I'm just about

to have horses come into my life.

And we're teaching whole energy
body balance for horses for

the first time this year.

So I've been thinking a lot about What
is it and and how does it work when

I'm connecting with animals, building
rapport, building relationship, teaching

animals How to not do things that are
undesirable and how to make them feel like

they wanna do things that are desirable.

But at the heart of it is
really the relationship with the

animal that is most important.

And probably the most important thing
about that relationship It's how

the animals are feeling while I'm
communicating with them, interacting with

them, and doing all that sort of thing.

So empathic Dogmanship,
empathic horsemanship.

Um, I don't know if dogmanship's ever been
a word before, but Well, it will be now.

A little bit of dialogizing and
make it up, For me, is is something

that I've only just realized in the
last week or 2 kind of what that is.

Now our animals, whether they be dogs
or horses, are extraordinarily empathic,

And they can read us like a book.

They know how we're feeling and what's
going on inside of us intimately

To a far, far higher degree than
at the other end of the leash.


You know, I think that us humans, when we
were little infants and little children,

We had that same level of intuitive,
empathic sensitivity and awareness online,

but the human jungle kinda squishes it out
of You know, we shut a lot of that down

to survive in in the human what I call the
human jungle, which is, you know, all the

unhealthy behaviors, socializations, and
And things like that that impact on us.

But I've always been incredibly
sensitive, And I don't know.

Some 20 odd years ago, then I I got into
the more intuitive energy healing side of

things, and that Then opened up a whole
other layer of sensitivity and perception.

And what I found is that when when
humans Learn how to connect with

themselves and know themselves
and and really become embodied.

You'll spontaneously begin to have the
experience of The the other being that

you're interacting with in your energy, in
your emotions, in your sensations, in your

body, Which is what I define as empathy
is experiencing the state of consciousness

and awareness of another being within
your own consciousness and awareness,

Which is kinda on the on the borders of
strange and wonderful when it comes to

the veterinary profession and even all the
mainstream type training stuff, though,

there is a there's been a huge, um,
Upwelling of people who are starting to

really put the how the animal is feeling
first when it comes to training and

working with them, whether it be horses
or dogs over the last, I don't know.

5 or 10 years, there's been a huge
increase in this and a huge increase in

awareness of what signs of discomfort and
Pain and distress, uh, in horses and dogs.

You know, at the moment, we're
starting to see in the dressage,

which is kinda like the the Upper
echelon of of horse competition, you

know, the the elite, so to speak.

That you're getting these horses that
are scoring really high in Dressage

rounds, but people are saying, excuse me.

They might be scoring high, but look at
all these signs of distress and pain and

discomfort and anxiety in this horse.

I mean, come on.

What's going on?

And the elite people who are
riding these horses are not

responding terribly well to this.

They are losing their shit, if you'll
excuse my French, And tending to, um,

then attack the people who are pointing
out something really obvious to anyone

who studied all that sort of stuff.

So I've also been working with a
guy, Lucky Phillips, who's created a

thing called emotional horsemanship,
which is really fascinating and

another part of this revolution.

He's someone you might wanna
have on your show 1 day.

He's a super, super interesting guy.

But, um, When you start considering how
the animal feels to be really, really

important, well, then you've gotta start
to work out how you can work that out.




Anke: Totally.

And it's fascinating because I'm
thinking, well, That kind of healing

and tapping into, you know, somebody
else's space, like, I I don't know.

I've had energy Heeding
readings from you know?

And it feels like well, it seems
kind of natural and obvious for

People to be able to hook into
what's going on for somebody else.

And I've experienced it where they
come out with stuff like, you have

no rational way of knowing this.


Oh, so, you know, so there is there is,
um, yeah, I can totally see how that

would be New and and a little like,
what in the in the in the animal world?

So well, obviously, my question then would
be so Well, first of all, like, something

that popped up to me is, like like, yes.

And I have a very sensitive dog,
and and, uh, he's he's sort of

more sensitive than other dogs.

And So he will know when I'm
sort of under the weather.


So now sometimes I'll still
need him to do something even

though I'm under the weather.

So, you know, how can I how can I, let's
say, keep him safe even if I'm not calm?

Because when I'm calm and
grounded, Everything's easy.

You know?

But if I'm like, if my stress bucket
is full, and I know I can't can't

kind of trick my dog, You know,
how can I still keep him safe and

make sure he comes when I call even
if you know, so it doesn't yeah?

Because I can't perhaps Be a hundred
percent of the time, you know, calm

and controlled and and grounded.

And so that's the first question.

The other question is, How do I get
well, what is it that somebody can do to

start that journey towards, like, okay.

How can I connect to animals in that way?

But, Yeah.

1 after the other, which
1 whichever 1 you want

Dr. Edward: first.

The I think the first thing is that
if if you have stress, if you have

fear, if you have, um, Um, anger,
frustration, any of these things come up.


I've got a 4 month old
puppy at the moment.

I can gotta tell you.

There's some frustration on my side.

The illusion of behavior.

She, um, chewed up 2 pairs of prescription
glasses and peed on our bed last week.

You know?

So What I say to people is, number 1,
don't suppress what you're feeling.

Number 2, no matter how you're feeling,
you can connect With your animals.

You don't need to hide your
sadness or grief or whatever.

It's not gonna you know?

Because Anything you suppress, your
animals tend to feel even more than

if you don't because they just can
see right through you, like I said.

So So what I recommend that you do
is, number 1, if you're having a

stressful day is to really own it in
your body and say, well, I'm really

stressed today, and I I can feel this
stress in various ways in my being.

Because if you can name it to yourself
and own it, then you can contain it, and

it won't leak out into your Interactions
and communications with your animals.

So that's the thing that a lot of people
tend to, um, be worried that they're gonna

harm their animals with their feelings.

And I don't believe that that's possible
if you'd if you are willing to actually

feel what's going on inside yourself.

Now that's uncomfortable.


It's a lot more comfortable just
to suppress it and push it down,

but then it's still active in your
system, and it leaks out into all

your interactions with your animals.

And and That's more damaging to your
relationship than anything else.

If you can be open with yourself about
how you're feeling, name it, contain

it, Then you can continue to, you
know, be in rapport and communication

with your animals in a healthy way.

But how do you develop develop
empathy is really the question here.

And for me, The way that I work
with this is that I work on being

more present and more aware and more
in my body And being here and now.

And I can talk you through just a
a kind of an abbreviated version of

the longer processes that we that we
teach all our students in the Whole

energy body balance training programs.

And if you really wanna develop that
further, you know, you can either

have 1 on 1 sessions with me by going
through the healing vet dot com.

We go to whole energy body balance dot com
and check out our training programs, web

body work for pets, web energy work for
animals, web for horses, web for humans.

There's a whole range of high level
programs that can teach you a whole range

of different ways to communicate with
connect with your animals in a better way.

But the first thing that I'm gonna invite
you and everyone listening to do is

just to become aware of your posture.

Soon as you become aware of
your past due, what happens?

You straighten up a little bit.


Because when you bring awareness
to anything, you align yourself.

And when your physical body is aligned.

You're more alert.

You're more aware.

You have more strength and
dexterity in your hands, And

you also have more presence.

Now presence is intimately related to
To your ability to be to be a leader.

The more presence you have, the more
natural leadership qualities you express.

It's just, In my experience, that
is just a a direct correlation.

And the next step is to bring
All of your awareness into and

throughout your physical body, and
then simply be present with whatever

the heck is going on in there.

No need to try and change
anything, understand anything.

It's a a pure, simple act of self
witnessing and self presence,

if you wanna call it that.

Now, again, this is gonna involve
some degree of healthy discomfort

because the more you bring awareness
and you can if you continually bring

into and throughout your whole body.

Your awareness is infinite,
so there's always more.


But what'll happen is, My god.

You know?

That that kind of tight area in my
neck that I was ignoring, suddenly,

you start to feel the discomfort of
that and this sadness that I've been

storing away under My heart here for
the last 10 years since I lost my dog.

Oh my god.

I'm feeling all sad and stuff.

So then you, you know, the
if you wanna have An empathic

rapport with your animals?

You gotta have an empathic
rapport with yourself first.

Once you know yourself intimately,
then you can start to meet the

other beings In your consciousness.

In addition to that

Anke: sense, it reminds me
of a of a meditation retreat.

Like, I went in Australia, actually.

It was like a 3 day silent
retreat, so that's all we did.

And it was amazing what
came out over that time.

You know, when you sort of you know,
it's like, yeah, it's 1 thing to

Sit there, meditate for 20 minutes,
like, you know, to be to kind of

alternate between sitting, standing,
walking, like, for 3 days straight.

It's incredible.

You know?

And what came up, and it started
with the, oh, my knee hurts.

Like, I'm getting a little uncomfortable
to All the stuff that we installed,

like, you know, decades, it comes out.


It's definitely an experience.

Dr. Edward: And then the third step is
is energetic connection and awareness.

So we all have primary flows of
energy that move through our system.

The first 1 is There's a flow of yin
or feminine nature chi from the earth

flowing up through your body and
out through your head continually.

And there's a second flow of yang or more
masculine energy flowing from the sun

down through your body and out through
your feet simultaneously at the same time.

And if you with your heart center, you
drink in generous amounts of both yin

and yang until your heart overflows
with that combined energy, and it

overflows to Feel you to overflowing.

So you're kinda filling your energy
cup, flows out through your hands,

fills your whole body to overflowing.

What happens then is that
you you've got a full cup.


And you've got this energetic
connection, and this starts to

affect All of your chakras and
energy systems, and they gradually

will become healthier and stronger.

And, of course, that includes your third
eye, which is your The energy center

involved with intuitive perception.

Now any kind of Blossoming
of empathic awareness.

You might put your hands on your
animal and suddenly burst into tears,

or you might just get a feeling of
how they're feeling, or you might

get some kind of intuitive perception
which can come through visual sense,

feeling sense, listening sense, Uh,
direct knowledge, knowing sense.

Everyone's kinda unique with that.

But the funny thing about it is it's
totally nonlinear And unpredictable.

And you can't predict it.

So you have to continue doing this
practice, and this is a practice that I

do the kind of more advanced version of
many times a day, every day of my life.

It's a practice that I've been doing,
well, probably 10 years or longer, And

I do it every day, and I do it often.

And I'm still gaining incremental
steady benefits and sometimes quantum

leaps in my awareness from doing this.

But, you know, it's it's the
ultimate in delayed gratification.

You don't get a linear response,
and you might be doing it for ages

before you finally get something
happen that that helps you get this

deeper connection with your animals.

Anke: That might yeah.

Like, that makes sense because
I think it also depends how many

years and decades we've been kind
of, like, removed from from Yeah.

That kind of awareness.


So now the next question that
pops up for me, um, You know?

So I can kind of interact with my dog,
and all of a sudden, like, something

comes up that could be a picture.

It could be you know?

How do I know?

It's like, you know, it's like that.

That's a, like how do you how do
you recognize it as, like, oh,

this is something that is actually
the animal communicating to me.

You know?

Because the the there's the trust,
but then my monkey mind comes in.

It's like, yeah.

But what if I'm all just making this up?

Like, that can't be true because
my logical mind can't follow it.

So, you know, my trained reaction comes
in like, oh, must not trust it if it

isn't if I can't Trace it back, but
in my experience, the whole essence of

intuition is that you just know, and Yeah.

I don't know how you know.


So Yeah.

You know, is there, like how is that a a
process as well in that sense of, like,

yeah, I learned to Trusted and lean into
it, or is there something that somebody

can do or stop doing to to to help

Dr. Edward: them along?

Well, that's a complex question.

Um, so, yeah, if you get a little glimpse
or a Uh, a glimmering of something that

is kind of either an emotional experience
of what's going on with your animal.

Like, for instance, a little while ago,
I was driving along the road with my

partner in the car, and she thought
a car was gonna pull out into us.

She had a reaction, and I swerved
because I felt her reaction.


You know?

So that's something that
just happens spontaneously.

But I've been doing this for a long time.


And it is what like I say to people,
my superpower is helping people cry.

It's very rare that I have A session with
people and animals that there's not tears

for one reason or another because I work
with the animal, I'm working with them,

and, Oh, I get a whole lot of sadness
and trauma or something come up in my

or fear and and I voice it, and suddenly
the human's in tears because there's this

empathic bridging That happens that when
I feel the consciousness of and experience

the consciousness of another being in my
body, That builds a tremendous bridge of

understanding and connection and rapport
on a very, very deep level, and that helps

these People access feelings that they
might not be able to access otherwise,

so they suddenly burst into tears.

There's a story that I think is worth
sharing here where you had 1 of our

students who was studying the the
web body work and energy work, And

he was someone who worked a lot with
rescue wild animals here in Australia.

So he had this little Galar, an adolescent
galar, which is a a pink and gray parrot.

They're very live in a flock.

They have kinda lifelong Partners.

Very, very social.

This little guy broke his
wing, and they thought, okay.

We'll see if we can repair the wing.

Now, unfortunately, when they
repaired it, It didn't heal quite

properly, so he was not releasable.

And this little guy, um, this fellow who's
our student We're sitting with the galah.

Now before before this happened, by the
way, if he went to change the water or

anything in this galah's cage, that galah
would be trying to bite him and attacking

him and Telling him to get away from
his cage, like, really quite aggressive.


Very pugnacious, aggressive birds.

And if you don't hand rear
them, I would have thought they

were unhandlable, Basically.

So he's sitting with this little
galah, and suddenly, he feels this

overwhelming sense of grief and
loneliness, and he's in tears.

He's Tears pouring down his face, which
goes on for about 20 or 30 minutes of

him having this empathic, um, connection
and experience of this little bird's

Grief over being away from his flock
and, you know, lonely and all this stuff.

You know what?

That little bird Instantly
wanted to be his best friend.


Wanted grooming, wanted to groom him, was
accepting touch, you know, became this

guy's best friend After that experience.

And this is what empathic bridging brings.

It brings A much deeper, quicker
connection that brings communication

beyond anything else that can be imagined.

It brings this Rapport that is
deeper than than most what most

people understand rapport to be.

Now I think we all have this capacity,
and we've just gotta reopen it.

I think a lot of us have shut it
down because, you know, if you get

a little infant is Close to someone
who's really violent and traumatized.

I think the extreme discomfort of
that in their body is enough to make

them go, oh, I can't deal with it.

I must Shut down.

You know?

And with intuitive perception, you
know, people who see things that

aren't there are considered to be
crazy and taken away in a white Okay.


In a straight jacket and locked up.

So there's a lot of pressure for us to and
I know that I shut a lot a lot of stuff

down when I was a relatively young Good.

Because of those social pressures.

I'm still working on
reopening all of that.

But you do that practice again
and again and again and again and

again, At some point, you will
naturally have an ecological opening

up of greater and greater empathic
sensitivity and intuitive awareness.

Anke: Okay.

I love that because I don't think
you need massive amounts of mastery

to Begin to feel the impact of it.

So I think it's a journey.

You can continue for the rest
of your life and grow ways,

see more and experience more.

But I think simply starting, you you
know, especially, I guess, if you

haven't done a lot of meditation,
think you'll notice, actually, the

first time I watched the video from
these guys from the trust technique, I

watched the video, and it's about that.

It's about literally, You
know, come into your own body.

Next thing I know, my dogs drop around me.

Like, they're literally
like Oh, absolutely.

This is the phone.


You know?

And I'm like, this is, Like, you
don't need to be an expert to to

start feeling that the connection is

Dr. Edward: real.

Not at all.

And, you know, a few months
ago, I was working with a horse.

We're out in the paddock, and
this wild duck comes up to us, and

he's walking around literally 50
centimeters away from our feet.

And the humans what the hell?

I haven't got closer than 20 or
30 meters to 1 of those ducks in

20 years of living on this place.

You know?

And they can feel the the energy.

I was working with bodywork and
energy work, and the animals feel it.

I love it.

You know?

That's When I first started learning
energy healing decades ago, every

time I practiced, my little crazy
staffy, Ticker, would come run

up the steps and sit at my feet.


This is strange.

Well, there must be a coincidence.

But after 10 or 20 times, it's like, no.

She can feel it, and she likes it,
and she wants to be close to it.


That's fascinating.

Anke: Because anything I think
people so often focus on behavior,

on training, on teaching.

And, like like, in my mind, it's
like, if we can start here to actually

have that connection, then then
you need so much Less on the on the

Dr. Edward: training front.

Well, training.

I'm not into teach my dog's
tricks and stuff like that.

I just want you know?

To have enough understanding
and connection for safety

and con communication.

And, you know, the other thing is
how much of competition is about

the humans' wish to to get ribbons?


The dog doesn't give a toss about ribbons.

I'm pretty sure horses don't
care much about them either.

Anke: So I always think that when I see
show dog like, You know, shows and stuff.

And I'm like, these dogs
have no good time here.

You know?

They're like,

Dr. Edward: he's just looking at me.

Most of them are probably
stressed and unhappy.

And, you know, with With these
horses coming into my life, I'm not

presuming I'm ever gonna ride him.

You know, that's something that,
number 1, we'll have to make sure

that he he's comfortable and able to
be ridden, which is not guaranteed.

I think, like, he said that 80 you
know, more than half the horses that

come to him need either Rest and
rehabilitation or total retirement

from riding, that's a high proportion.


And the other thing is that If he
doesn't wanna be ridden and I force

that, then what sort of relationship
is that gonna be with that being?

It's not gonna be terribly
pleasant for him, is it?

Anke: And I and I love I I love
that that matters, you know, because

I think traditionally so much.

I think definitely in the horse space,
certainly for dogs, there is just, like,

you know, I'm I must kind of, like,
control what you're doing, and I need to

kind of intimidate you into submission.

And I just love seeing how you know,
you mentioned before, there seems

to be almost like a movement to move
away from that, to become more, You

know, concerned with how the animal's
feeling, and I just love that.

Dr. Edward: And I can also see that
in that movement, you've got Force

over here in aversives, and you've
got complete positive reinforcement

and never asking the animal to do
anything that it doesn't do over here.

Well, I think they're both unhealthy.


I agree.

Because I've seen a few dogs
like this, and they're fat, Lazy.

And they won't do things that they need to
do for their health and well-being Because

they've never been asked to do anything
they don't wanna do in their life.

And I think somewhere not in the
middle, because I don't think force

and aversives are, uh, You know, you
need to use the absolute minimum of

what you might call aversive if they're
needed, which is really kindness.

So somewhere in here, This part
of the spectrum, you gotta have

healthy boundaries, and you gotta be
able to say a healthy yes Animals.

And you're gonna be able to
say healthy no to your animals.

And there is not and you gotta be able
to do this with humans too, by the way.

And there is not a being on this planet
that the first time You say a healthy

yes, you're gonna have this thing you
don't want that's good for you, or a

healthy no, you can't have that thing
you want because it's not good for you.

And there, none of them
are gonna say, woo hoo.

Thank you.

That's Great.

Anke: They're all gonna be It's

Dr. Edward: like children is what?

What the hell do you think
you're trying to say to me here?

No way.

I don't wanna do that.


So you gotta find a way to move through
healthy yes and healthy no in a way that

supports that that deep empathic Rapport,
connection, relationship, and you can.

You can move through healthy yeses
and healthy nos in a way that

deepens your relationship and
trust And bond with your animals.

It takes some learning how to do that.

It's not you know, it's 1 of those things
that is simple but not necessarily easy.


Anke: I I mean, I think that's
probably not that different

from, you know, raising children.

It's like, yeah.

You don't wanna be like the tyrant,
but you don't want to let them get away

with, Like, doing anything they want
because that will keep them safe, and it

won't prepare them for for what's ahead.


So but you don't have think about it.


Dr. Edward: Absolutely.

I mean, would you train a child
with lollies and only lollies?

You think you'd get a good result if
you just only interacted with a human

child trying to get them to understand
how to to accept boundaries and

stuff with only giving them sweeties.

Not gonna work.

Or it might work, but it's not
gonna work well, and it's gonna

cause a whole lot of other problems.


That's for

Anke: sure.

I mean, it sounds so ridiculous if you
put it like that, you know, but I think

that's a lot what you see being taught.

You know?

Like, the treat box is
like the magic tool.

Dr. Edward: I I hardly ever use,
uh, plus like treats food rewards.

I think that they tend well,
they drive seeking behavior,

which is not a relationship
Building hormone, it's dopamine.

They don't get the dopamine hit
until after they've got the treat.

Um, I use touch primarily because that's
an oxytocin Bonding relation hormone,

and it also causes them to to deescalate
arousal and come into calm states where

they're more able to respond and learn.

Now my little whippet, I noticed the
other week that suddenly she decided she

wasn't gonna come back when we're going
on walks around the paddocks on our place.

So the next walk, I took
a pocket full of treats.

Oh, it was got treats.

I'll definitely come back, and then
I don't carry treats Generally, uh,

you know, that 1 thing was enough to
really rebuild connection and recall.


Now when I go out When we've got
these new horses, which she hasn't

seen before, you can bet your boots.

I'll have a pocket full of the
yummiest treats that she loves more

than anything else because I want
To have her very motivated to be

focused on me and not chasing horses.

But it's rare that I use positive
reinforcement with treats

when I'm working with animals.

I think it's Arousing and stimulating,
and it doesn't build relationship.

I love

Anke: that.


That's that makes so much sense
when you say it like that.

You know, it feels like, oh,
it's 1 of those where you think,

well, why didn't I think of that?


It's kinda feels so obvious, especially
in that in that in that context.



Absolutely love.

So where can people go to, you know,
to learn and to learn from you and to

join your community, your programs?

Highly recommended, by the way.

So where can be what where's
the best place to go?

Dr. Edward: Well, if you look for
the Healing Vet on Facebook, that's

probably 1 of our main Socialists,
but we're also on Insta as well.

Um, w w w dot whole energy
body bounce dot com, uh, w w

w dot the healing vet dot com.

You'll be able to
contact us through there.

Uh, you know, I'm available for what
I what I now call intuitive integrated

veterinary services, Worldwide by Zoom.

So you can work 1 on 1 with me, and
I gotta tell you, Um, I'm not only

gonna be working with the pets.

If you work with me, I'll be working
as much You're gonna be crying.


Because the humans are the
most part of this equation.

And, um, I had a client the other
day said, well, I didn't think I

was gonna have a therapy session.

What about my cat?


And, um, humans need to be aware that
they've gotta deal with their end of

the leash as much we need to deal with
the animals end of the leadership in

terms of a whole lot of things when
it comes to self regulation And all

this other good stuff, relaxation,
presence, and and so on and so forth.

Anke: I love that.

Well, that is a power punch.


The veterinarian with energy healing
together, like, that is just awful.

So thank you so much.

We're gonna obviously put
the link right below here.

So thanks so much for coming and and
sharing that, you know, getting us

all on, you know, this path being more
and more present because we I think we

have So much you get so much more to
put in and get out of the relationship

with all with all the beings, you know,
whatever, however, many legs they have.

So it's definitely worth The experiment.

Dr. Edward: Absolutely.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thanks so much for listening.

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That's A N k E at Soul
touched by dogs.com.

Dr. Edward Bassingthwaite - Empathy - The Bridge to Understanding and Connection - Not Just For Dogs
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