I continue to be questioned—and even, at times, judged—by friends and neighbors for feeding diced chicken to Emma when she’s scared or using it to lavishly reward her for not eating that dog poop when I say “leave it.” They don’t get that Emma is not working me for food. She doesn’t love me any less because she knows she’ll get a jackpot of chicken when she runs to my side. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I still have wonderful memories of splitting a hot-fudge sundae with my dad when I got straight A's in school. To me, it’s the same thing.
“I think that to play that dichotomy of food versus true love is ridiculous,” Bekoff says. “It’s just not supported by any research at all.”