Alexandra Protopopva


PhD, Assistant Professor

University of British Columbia




Alexandra (Sasha) Protopopova, PhD, is an assistant professor at the University of British Columbia's Animal Welfare Program. Her research focuses on enhancing animal shelter practices, developing behavioral interventions for improving companion animal welfare in shelters and pet homes, and assessing and improving the well-being of working dogs in assistance roles. She obtained her MS and PhD in Behavior Analysis from the University of Florida and has authored several peer-reviewed articles and frequently presents at scientific and professional conferences. When she's not teaching Animal Learning classes, Sasha can be found conducting behavioral research, hiking, and cuddling with dogs.

Functional Analysis in Dog Training: Understanding the Philosophy and Methodology of Behavior Analysis

In this talk, I will introduce the philosophy of behavior analysis as it relates to dog training. Specifically, I will focus on a methodology known as Functional Analysis (FA) which helps identify the reason (or function) for problematic behaviors. The audience will learn the basics of FA methodology and will be guided through the steps of conducting an FA. We will also analyze a video case together, giving attendees hands-on experience with data collection. Finally, I will discuss the limitations of functional analysis and how it fits into a broader approach to dog behavior support. This talk is aimed at educated dog trainers who want to expand their toolkit and learn more about the science behind dog behavior.