Q: Will I have a case against a dog trainer if her method has caused physical and emotional injuries?
My girlfriend & I hired a trainer (P) from Thumbtack because our dog was showing signs of aggression. Our dog would bark at strangers & other dogs; he had snapped at my girlfriend a few times but had never caused any injuries.
We hired P, and she told us it will get better but don't hope to turn our dog to a Golden Retriever. P used a prong collar and no treats, "correcting" bad behaviors with a very hard pull on the with both arms when our dog is barking/growling. We trusted P because she was the "expert" and we were first-time dog owners. A few times I showed dissatisfaction but P insisted that this does not cause any pain for the dog as their neck is strong & made fun of me for being too soft.
We had agreed on 6 sessions of 1h each for 600$. A few days after the 5th session, our dog bit my girlfriend, causing physical and emotional injuries. When we sought help online, people told us it's because of the P's method, as it taught our dog to skip warnings and bite! Do we have a case?
I realize the irony of what I'm about to say, but I'm going to say it, anyway: don't take advice from people on the internet - especially if they're not professionals.
That said, it's unclear from what you wrote whether liability can be imposed on the trainer. More information is needed because whether or not the dog bit your girlfriend from something your girlfriend did to the dog, or whether you did something to the dog, or whether the dog biting your girlfriend had anything to do with training from a person who was not present are questions that would have to be submitted to the trier of fact.
Also, if you don't like a trainer's methods, there is nothing prohibiting you from firing that trainer and hiring another one whose methods you feel more comfortable with.
A: You need a consumer lawyer. You can call the Lawyer Referral Service of Central Texas: (512) 472-8303, https://austinlrs.com/
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