Dog the Bounty Hunter's been educated about his inappropriate use of the n-word and now knows he doesn't have a pass to use it ... so says his former pastor, Tim Storey, who still believes Dog means well and has a good heart.
Storey -- who is Black, and is now an acclaimed author, speaker and life coach -- tells TMZ he's still very close to Dog after 20 years, so he called him following Dog's controversial interview with ET's Kevin Frazier ... and told him his comments were "not wise."
Tim says he explained to Dog that he does NOT have a pass to say the n-word regardless of what he thought in the past or what he told Frazier ... and Dog conceded his point and agrees.
According to Storey ... Dog is not a racist, but he sometimes doesn't think through everything he says. The former pastor insists Dog has a good heart, is willing to grow and learn from mistakes and has always treated him and his family with nothing but love and respect.
Tim also claims he's never personally heard Dog say the n-word other than his infamous, racial-slur-loaded rant that was leaked back in 2007 ... and doesn't think he should be canceled for that stain from his past.
As we've reported, the 2007 leaked phone call between Dog and his son got him canceled at A&E, and seems to be a bone of contention between his daughters, Bonnie and Cecily, and him. TMZ broke the story ... they were not invited to his wedding that went down Thursday.
Storey, on the other hand, tells us he did get an invite -- he actually officiated Dog's wedding to Beth Chapman in 2006 -- but didn't attend due to a scheduling conflict.