Saying sorry for our pet’s behaviour

I was reading an article today about two dogs that had attacked a horse. The owner of the dogs left the scene, without apologising. The horse’s owner is left with an injured horse and the vet bills. He would have liked the dog’s owner to say sorry.

It got me thinking as to how many negative situations could be avoided if only we, pet owners, said sorry. At times such as

  • When our dogs tangle someone up in their lead
  • When our cat poos in the neighbour’s sandpit
  • When our dogs bark when left alone

OK, it may be irresponsible to allow these behaviours to occur regularly but they can happen to most of us on occasion. I’m sure you can think of many other occasions when you feel a little guilty about our pet’s behaviour. A meaningful apology could be the difference between friendly neighbourhood interaction and outright animosity, not to mention dislike of our pets.

I took the ‘saying sorry’ one step further when I moved into my house, some 3 years ago. Being a very noisy and active household with 3 boys, who kick footballs all day and night, play extremely loud music at times (I am guilty of that too!) and play drums, I thought it wise to apologise in advance. We invited the neighbours over and supplied sufficient quantities of nibbles and wine to become friends. They met my pets.

I explained that I looked after my pets well and would welcome any feedback if my dog barked when we were not home or my cats were leaving my garden and entering their property. Likewise I wanted to hear about their pets and children so that I could be aware if anything went amiss.

And yes, I also apologised in advance for any stress that my pets caused them. I did not expect my pets to annoy anyone (I do try to look after them well and ensure they behave) but you can never be sure what will happen down the track. Even the best behaviour pets misbehave at times.

I believe people appreciate an apology. It may not help an injured animal, it may not pay for damages done but it does make the receiver feel better. It probably makes the guilty party feel slightly less guilty too!


Read the article here.


  1. Great advice Joanne. It’s amazing how much can be solved by those two little words 🙂 Especially from a neighbours perspective.

    Our neighbours’ 2 little dogs started mournfully howling during the day during one of his frequent absences. We emailed him to let him know & he apologised & even asked if our son would like to earn some money by walking his dogs each day! Problem solved and everyone was happy – especially the lonely 2 little guys next door 🙂

  2. Judy, that is a perfect example of saying sorry and what it means. So glad it has a happy ending and hopefully the dog is quieter now. Thanks for sharing, Jo

  3. Great thinking Judy. My dogs usually quietly walk past anyone (on lead) without bothering them UNLESS the person makes a comment (“Oh what beautiful dogs!) and then they get hyper excited. If one of the dogs jumps on someone as a consequence, I always apologise even though the dogs think that they’ve been invited to jump. I think dog interpretations and human interpretations of an invitation are slightly different… 🙂

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