Tips on retraining _very_ set in behaviors (~8 years)?

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sourced from: https://www.reddit.com/r/Dogtraining/comments/iexfqf/tips_on_retraining_very_set_in_behaviors_8_years/

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Long story short, I’ve come into possession of a very sweet old dachshund, at least about 10 years old or so (that we know of; she was found as a young dog on the street). In all of that time, she belonged to a relative who has since passed, and so I’ve come into possession of her. But what I’m finding over the course of the month or so I’ve had her are some learned behaviors that I’m finding difficulty in approaching. The overall list is fairly long, so for now I’d just like to focus on her biggest “issue”/my biggest pet (heh) peeve:

going outside to pee/poo vs every trip being an exploration or walk

For context, her prior home was a single story house with a yard, so anytime she needed to go out she’d simply be let out. I, on the other hand, live in a multi story apartment, so anytime she needs to go out it means carrying her down flights of stairs. Not a problem, and I recognize the need for exercise so I do try to take her on regular longer walks, usually at least twice a day before and after work (from home).

However, there’ll be times during the workday when my available time is much more limited, or late at night/overnight when she’ll signal she needs to go out. Again, no problem, can do that, but then we’ll get downstairs and she’ll be so aloof, even to the point of sitting or laying down without going potty, that I have to bring her back in.

I’ve tried using different language, in an attempt to differentiate “go pee (quick)” vs “go for a walk (long)”, but to no real avail. What prompted this is I will sometimes discover accident spots that need to be taken care of, which is usually so small in volume and usually overnight that I chalk up more to just her aging and dribbling in her sleep. But sometimes, they are full empties, and I think I’m doing relatively well at providing her ample opportunities to take care of that ahead of time, but she’d rather use those opportunities to explore versus take care of her bodily needs. Any tips on how to address this with an older dog?

TL;DR – Older dog in an upper story apartment that would rather explore on her potty breaks than, well, potty, likely leading to accidents in the apartment later.

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