Texas Tech University

Expert Available to Discuss Canine Behavior in Light of Recent Attacks

George Watson

August 4, 2017


Sasha Protopopova is an expert on the behavior of companion animals such as dogs and the human-animal interaction.


Recent footage from a Lubbock Police Department officer's body camera showed footage of an aggressive loose dog first harassing a woman and her baby, and another individual who was seen fending off the dog with a knife, then turning its attention to the officer, who tried several tactics to get the dog to back off before finally shooting at the dog, which ran away. The dog is still on the loose.

It was the latest in what seems like a sudden epidemic of confrontations between loose dogs and citizens in Lubbock and Lubbock County. That includes an instance in July when a man was attacked by a pack of at least seven dogs in north Lubbock County.

Alexandra (Sasha) Protopopova is an assistant professor of companion animal science in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences in the Texas Tech University College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources. She is an expert on the behavior of companion animals such as dogs and the human-animal interaction.

Sasha Protopopova


Alexandra (Sasha) Protopopova, assistant professor, Department of Animal and Food Sciences, College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, (806) 834-2882 or

Talking Points

  • While aggressive behavior in loose dogs tends to be blamed on the dog itself, it is actually a result of improper care of the canine by the owner.
  • Loose dogs rarely bite people, hoping their aggressive bark is enough to scare a person away. Dogs usually only bite people in cases of extreme fear.
  • When encountering a loose dog, do not attempt to capture the dog and certainly avoid cornering the dog in an area where it perceives the only way out is to attack.


  • "Oftentimes, dog owners are lacking proper education in companion animal management, including spay/neuter, appropriate and secure housing and preventive medical care. Education of owners as well as the provision of accessible pet services in areas where loose dogs are prevalent is crucial to stopping this problem in the city of Lubbock."
  • "If a dog is barking at you, stop what you are doing, avoid direct eye contact and back away slowly. Call for help when you can. When an experienced animal control officer arrives, the officer will work to de-escalate the situation, just like with a human aggressor. More often than not, the dog was simply scared and not intending to hurt the person."

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