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We have a horse farm and last night one of our older horses died. While we were waiting for the man to come with the machinery to dig a grave, she was in her paddock covered with a tarp. Our Pit Bull went over to her and bit her face then left. After our mare was buried he went back out and pooped on the grave in several places. He also was digging where the blood was from when he bit her face. He has never shown aggression to any of our horses and has a very sweet nature. We don't know quite what to make of this behavior and wonder if anyone here has experienced a similar reaction from their dog. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Odd indeed.

Frankly, I think I would ignore the behavior. Although, I would keep a watchful eye on the dog for additional manifestations.

Maybe its his way of saying goodbye to the horse.

FWIW, I don't think this is aggression. It would be very abnormal for any animal to be aggressive towards a dead animal.
 

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First, I'm sorry for your loss.

Dogs have been known to eat their dead owners (although it's far more common with cats lol) so it isn't all that surprising that your dog was curious about the dead horse. I wouldn't be surprised if your dog was puzzled by the dead horse and viewed it as potential prey. Some scavenging instincts may have taken over. Dogs are smart and of course can tell between a dead or alive horse, so I wouldn't worry too much about it. Also, a horse can easily defend themselves against a single dog, as long as they are well and have the room to do so. I'm not saying the dog couldn't potentially get in a bite, which to a horse's fragile legs could be disasterous, but they are fight or flight animals and would fight back if unable to flee. I've seen far more horses injure and even kill dogs, accidentally and purposely, than I've ever seen dogs injure or kill horses.

The pooping behavior is what strikes me the most, but I would guess it was mostly coincidene and had to do more with the fresh loose dirt than the site being a grave. And of course the scent of the blood was probably interesting to the dog still.

As stated above me, keep an eye on the dog, but I wouldn't worry much.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you for your replies. We have coyotes in the area and wonder if he wasn't marking the grave as his to keep out the coyotes. He didn't seem as interested today as yesterday so hopefully it's over and forgotten. He's a wonderful dog. He came up our driveway one day an absolute skeleton of a dog. I took him to the vet and only weighed 48 pounds. Today he's healthy and happy and weighs 75 pounds so you see how thin he was. The vet thinks he had been used for fighting because his ears are almost non-existent they have been cropped so closely and he has a big chunk out of his tongue. He is loving and so affectionate to people but aggressive to other dogs which would fit with the fighting. We love him and feel blessed that he chose our farm to wander into. Again thanks for your replies they have helped.
 
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