Training tips from CAHS for new pets

by Brooke Kansier
Lansing Township News Staff Reporter

Capital Area Humane Society staff work hard to get their dogs adopted, but what happens once they find their new home?

These tips from CAHS employees will help your new pet transition smoothly into the home, reinforcing why training at home is so important. “You have to work with them so they can stay happy,” said CAHS Behavior Manager Samantha Miller.

Set consistent rules – “Make sure everybody’s on the same page,” said Miller. “Are we going to let him on the couch? Are we going to feed him table scraps? Are we not? There can be some issues with people in the home if they are not all on the same page, and they might think the dog is stubborn or doesn’t listen, when it’s the person that’s not following through.”

Consistency helps a dog adjust to the home not only better, but more quickly.

“Getting a routine down and staying consistent with the dog is going to help them adjust into the home best, and it helps them know what to predict next so they are more comfortable,” she said.

Exercise is important - You can walk the dog, run them around a fenced-in yard or play fetch every day. “It keeps them physically fit and gives them an outlet,” sad CAHS volunteer Lisa Burch.

“If you find something that they like, whether its agility, or running outside, or doing scent work and playing fetch, and you do that at home, it creates a bond with your dog and gets their minds working and relaxed, so they’re not chewing the couch,” said Miller.

Seek advice quickly if problems erupt - If any behavior problems arise, Miller recommends that owners call CAHS. Trainers there have worked with your dog and know him well, so they can give training tips.

“We can give them some advice, whether it’s going to an obedience class geared toward the problem, or some methods we use. If it’s easier stuff we can just talk over the phone and figure things out.”

CAHS recommends obedience trainers with some of these issues, and many are specialized toward issues like anxiety and poor manners.

“There are a ton of trainers out there, you just have to make sure they’re using positive techniques,” said Miller. “They can help a lot.”

CAHS also offers two training classes of its own: Puppy Socialization and Household Manners.

“Our puppy socialization course is for anybody under six months of age. Household manners is anyone over six months of age,” said Miller. “It’s all of the basics-sit, stay, down- leash walking. Puppies get to socialize with other puppies, too, which is always good.”

Each class consists of a four-week course held once a week in the evening. The next session for each class begins May 1.

“It’s a fun experience and the first step in the rest of your training,” said Miller. “If they are having issues, there are trainers they can talk to, and there’s a lot of support.”

Owners can find information on CAHS’s obedience classes here, or by calling 517-626-6060. A discount is given to owners who have adopted their dog from CAHS.

“A lot of people think they can just bring a dog home, and that’s it. You have to work with them,” said Miller. “They need to be active, mentally and physically.”

A second chance for Lansing pets

by Brooke Kansier
Lansing Township News Staff Reporter

Lansing’s Capital Area Humane Society is going above and beyond basics like food and vet care. Their staff’s emphasis on behavior and training is giving many dogs a second chance.

“Training is a huge priority here,” said CAHS Behavior Manager Samantha Miller. “It’s a way we can look to save more lives and make those lives better.”

The shelter’s training program has grown significantly over the course of CAHS’s 15-year lifespan and now includes intensive programs like mental exercise and obedience training.

“The more training we can incorporate, the more likely we can adopt our dogs out, keep them adopted and keep them happy while they’re here,” said Miller.

A dog’s training begins with a behavior evaluation shortly after they arrive at CAHS. This tests the animal’s personality and flags any warning signs or behavior issues the dog might have, such as anxiety problems or guarding of food and toys.

“Basically, we take them into our behavior room, and we see what toys they like, if they are social with us and come to greet us,” said Miller. “We touch them and pet them.We see how they behave with other dogs. If they have any issues, we go from there.”

If any issues are identified, the training staff works with the dog to overcome them, whether with gradual training and socialization or other confidence-boosting exercises.

“If you have a really fearful dog, for example, a good thing to start out with would be basic training to build their confidence,” said Miller. “Then slowly we’d begin to incorporate things like socialization to get them comfortable with us.”

Trainers also work with dogs that have issues such as hoarding and guarding things like rawhide bones or their food bowl.

“We will gradually introduce higher-value food and approach them and give them something better than they have in their bowl,” said Miller. “So they learn that approaching doesn’t mean we are going to take their food. We want to change the way they think about people coming near their bowls.”

Helping the dogs get over issues like this not only makes them safer and more adoptable, but according to Miller, introduces them to variety of households they might not have succeeded in before.

“If we work with them through their food, it makes it safer to send them home with families with children. It opens up a whole other group of people to adopt the animal that might not have before,” she said.

Many dogs at CAHS are able to be put up for adoption right away pending their behavior evaluations. Occasionally a dog is held back in order to receive more training, particularly if he is not ready to be placed in a home or put into the shelter’s kennel environment.

“If we have a dog that we don’t think is safe to adopt out yet, we will keep them unavailable while we work with them through these issues,” said Miller. “Other dogs with problem behaviors can be labeled high-priority dogs. These dogs can go up for adoption, but our staff still gives them a lot of work.”

High-priority dogs

High priority dogs that exhibit anxiety or confidence issues or food and toy guarding receive special attention.

“High-priority dogs are worked with every day, so they have a lot of training,” said Miller. “If you adopt a high-priority dog, they are going to know all of their basic commands, they will have plenty of obedience training, and we also work on leash and crate training.”

Trainers at CAHS work on these issues with various training methods, and also pass tips and training options to adopters.

“If there’s something we can work on, like food, or they guard their rawhides from people, we can work on that. If they go potty in the house, adopters can work on that in the home. We just give them the right guidance,” said Miller. “We work on it, and we can find a home that is appropriate for them.”

According to Miller, the most important part of training is making it a positive experience, especially with high-priority dogs.

“We don’t want them to get bored,” she said. “We try to keep their sessions fairly short, and we use a lot of praise and treats.”

Other methods of keeping training interesting are doing different things every time, such as socialization, obedience training, basic commands and mental and physical exercise.

Obedience and command training

“All of the dogs need basic command training, they need enrichment and then obedience training,” said Miller. “It helps them to get adopted.”

Command training includes everything from sit and stay to tricks like play dead and roll over. It often makes dogs more appealing and also gives them a constructive outlet, mentally and physically.

“We like to teach them tricks, like sit and shake and roll over,” said CAHS volunteer Lisa Burch. “We keep cards on their runs explaining what tricks they know, and it can really help them catch the attention of someone looking to adopt.”

Along with tricks, the staff works on things like leash and crate training, correcting behavior such as jumping and demand barking and teaching basic household manners.

“Nobody wants to adopt a dog that’s jumping or mouthing, or doesn’t know basics like ‘Sit,’” said Miller.

“It’s really valuable to have a dog that shows manners and is polite,” said CAHS volunteer Connie Kapugia. “It helps them get adopted, sure, but it builds their confidence and gives them mental exercise, too.”

Physical exercise

Another important duty staff members and volunteers have is to make sure the dogs are exercised, whether via walks on CAHS’s backyard trail, free exercise in the shelter’s outdoor run or by playing fetch with volunteers.

“There’s a nice mile-long trail around the property we use to walk the dogs,” said Kapugia. “We also play with them in their kennels and in the behavior rooms.”

“It’s great to get them out of their kennels, and it let’s them have some fun and some fresh air. They get to go out and just act like dogs,” said Burch.

Physical exercise is not only good for the dogs’ health, it also gives the dogs a chance to unwind and socialize.

“It keeps them from going stir crazy,” said Burch.

Mental stimulation

While physical exercise keeps the dogs active and healthy, mental exercise keeps their minds strong and builds confidence.

“Mental training is something we do with a lot of the dogs because it’s fun,” said Kapugia. “When the dogs are in a kennel environment like this, it’s really good for them to get that mental release, and to be able to let go of their stress.”

One of the common mental training methods used at CAHS is nose work.

“When a dog uses their nose, it activates a lot of senses. It would almost be comparable to a person sitting at a desk and doing mental work. You leave and you are tired, but not physically tired,” said Kapugia. “That is what happens when we bring them out and do the nose work.”

Nose work generally involves a trainer hiding treats around the room, such as under a towel or behind a box or piece of furniture. The dog then has to sniff out the treats on his own.

“It builds confidence in the dogs, like a lot of the training we do here,” said Burch. “It also keeps them happy and much calmer than they’d be without it.”


Socialization is another important aspect of helping the dogs become adopted and stay adopted. Socialization needs to be done between dogs and their fellow canines, as well as with cats and humans.

According to Burch, a lot of the socialization training at CAHS is done by volunteers.

“We will sit with them in their runs and just pet them or play with them, sometimes for thirty minutes or more,” said Burch. “They get to know your voice, as you walk through. They look at you like, hey, come play with me first!”

“It changes your personality. When you look at the dog and you pick up on their personality, their happiness, it’s just so relaxing, it’s calming, it’s rewarding,” said Kapugia. “It just lifts you up.”

Socializing dogs can prevent aggression and anxiety around other dogs or people. Due to the dogs’ environment in the kennel, it is particularly important to socialize them positively with other dogs.

“When the dogs are in their kennels and see other dogs passing, it creates a negative association with other dogs,” said Miller. “So when we get them together in positive lights they can have more good experiences with dogs.”

One of the biggest ways trainers at CAHS do this is by utilizing playgroups.

“Playgroups are when we put the dogs with other dogs they get along with,” said Miller. “They can play in the yard, they can run around outside. Its good for mental stimulation, it’s obviously good for physical stimulation, and it helps them relieve some stress, too, on top of socializing with other dogs.”

Playgroups are normally done at CAHS every Friday, and the trainers try to do as many pairings as they can.

“The more playgroups we do, the more we learn about them, so we can match them even better the next time,” said Miller. “We want to be making sure the dogs get some interaction and some training. We want them to be happy and comfortable.”

Those interested in adopting can check out available dogs and cats at CAHS or stop by the shelter’s next adoption events.

“You develop a relationship with the dog, and you can just have a good time with them,” said Burch. “When they go it’s sad, but you’re really glad at the same time.”

“It gets hard to leave at the end of the day,” said Kapugia.

Check out CAHS’s training tips at home

You can find a map to CAHS here.


OTCA helps people discover Old Town

by Amanda Chaperon
Lansing Township News Staff Reporter

Old Town, a community in Lansing at the intersection of North Grand River and Turner Street, is a local gem, full of shops designed to appeal to anyone and everyone. If you do not know about it, that’s where the Old Town Commercial Association comes into play.

Old Town itself was first settled in 1842 and was then officially named Lansing Township. John Burchard of Mason became the first official resident of the area. Old Town then became part of the “Main Street” program in 1996. The area is rich with history.

Louise Gradwohl, a Michigan State graduate and East Lansing native, is executive director of OTCA. It’s a job she’s very excited about but never thought would actually happen to her fresh out of college.

“It’s a lot of responsibility, and I continue to learn so much every day,” Gradwohl said. “But I have an awesome board of directors and amazing, creative, brilliant people that I am surrounded by daily. It’s quite a blessing to be a part of this.”

OTCA is comprised of several committees and a board of directors that keep the community running smoothly and help get the word out about it. Board of directors member Melik Brown feels each of them have roles as ambassadors and guides for Old Town.

“There are many committees that make positive changes in Old Town,” Brown said. “As board members we must make sure that we are following the guidelines as well as goals that ensure Old Town continues to flourish as a cool spot to be. Our goal is to continue to make Lansing a destination point with fun places to visit.”

Gradwohl said the OTCA relies heavily on events that help spread the word about the community itself. The Old Town Toast, which takes place on the second Tuesday of every month, is one such event.

“Events like the Old Town Toast benefit the community in that it provides different opportunities for people to experience what Old Town is,” Brown said. “People’s schedules are chaotic. We try to offer opportunities to fit their likes and desires as well as their schedules.”

Another event that Old Town held to create awareness was a “chocolate walk” in February. The 16 stores that participated each gave away some kind of treat. People paid for a small box, then walked to each participating shop in Old Town to collect.

“It was a great and tasty way to get people into some of the Old Town shops they hadn’t seen before,” said Preuss Pets employee Ashley Hutchinson.

Hutchinson has been working the saltwater department at Preuss since December. Preuss itself is owned and operated by Rick Preuss, his wife Debbie and his daughter Kirbay.

“It would be rare to walk in and not see one of them,” Hutchinson said. “My fellow employees are all amazing to work with. We are a bunch of very passionate people. The store’s quirky, fun and unique personality fits right in with Old Town. It’s definitely out of the ordinary in the best way possible.”

The consensus around the area is that the people are the best part about the area. Old Town shops are all locally own and run. Many of them are shops you won’t see anywhere else. Hutchinson said the area has so much personality, and everyone works together to create a great community.

“My favorite part of Old Town is the people,” Brown said. “The people invited me to Old Town. The people welcomed me to Old Town. The people are family that we choose. We the people love Old Town.”

Scenes from Old Town

March Madness impacts sports bars

by Jacque DeWitt
Lansing Township News Staff Writer

Trippers March madness sign


March Madness had Lansing restaurants full, customers cheering and sales high.


It’s no secret that sports bars see a rise in customers during basketball games, but March Madness turns a normally good turnout into a great turnout. Michigan State’s success in the NCAA competition was a boost to local bars.


Emily Lentz, a manager and bartender at Tripper’s Sports Bar, saud that March Madness is one of the busiest times of the year for them.

Trippers outside

“We’re packed,” said Lentz. “We get a variety of regulars and new customers. The busiest we get is on the first couple days, because the games start earlier. So we have people coming in before noon to watch the games, ordering food and alcohol.”

Lentz talked about the role that Michigan State and Michigan play into the number of customers Tripper’s gets.

“The Big Ten tournament kind of jump-starts the rise of customers,” said Lentz. “When Michigan State or Michigan plays, more often than not, we can’t hear ourselves think. The farther they go in the tournament, the better chance there is that we will be full.”

With an increase in the amount of customers, Tripper’s sales for food and drinks skyrocket. Tripper’s offered $3 Blue Moon drafts, Johnny Vegas and Captain and Coke drinks on Fridays.

Trippers burger edit

“Our sales doubled to tripled,” said Lentz. “I was bar-tending the first day of the tournament, and I was running around the entire time getting drinks, and there were two other bar-tenders working. We sold a lot more alcohol than normal. I can’t tell you how many Blue Moons I sold alone.”

Trippers menu edit

Kourtney Hannan, a bartender at Chammps Americana said that March Madness was good for the restaurant.

“A lot of regulars came in,” said Hannan. “I worked during all the games. When Michigan State or Michigan were playing, it was unbelievably busy.”

She said the Final Four was the busiest. “Even though it would’ve been nice to see MSU go farther, we were the busiest on the Saturday of the Final Four,” she said. “We were selling these collectible Labbatt Blue cups as a special during the game. Everyone wanted to keep the cups and at the end of the first night of the tournament, I had $1800 dollars in sales, which is double what my sales are normally. The atmosphere was great and people were happy for the most part.”

Champps Bar Sales pie graph

Tiara Marocco, a server at Champps Americana loved working during the games, describing the experience as enjoyable.

Tiara Marocco edit

“People were a lot friendlier,” said Marocco. “I made a lot of money and had fun while I was doing it. Normally working during sports is fun, but March Madness is the best time to work because you get to see all of the MSU fans come in and support their team. I thought it was cool to see fans of other schools that weren’t from the state, too, like Kentucky and Duke.”

Although bars can tend to get a little rowdy, Lentz stressed that this wasn’t the case this year.

“We didn’t have any fights,” said Lentz. “We didn’t have to escort anybody out. Nobody walked out without paying after their team lost. When Michigan State lost to UCONN, we were prepared to handle all three possibilities. Luckily, everyone was a good sport and we didn’t have any problems.”

Michigan State made it to the Elite Eight, eventually falling to the University of Connecticut 60-54.

Lansing awarded $3.4 million for magnet school program

by Danielle Carrier
Lansing Township News Staff Writer

The Lansing School District received a $3.4 million Magnet School Assistance Grant that will be used at six locations throughout the community.

Lansing is the only district in Michigan to receive the federal grant. Cavanaugh, Fairview, Lewton, Mt. Hope, Sheridan Road, and Everett schools will house the themed classes. Yvonne Camaal Canul, Lansing School District Superintendent, said on WILX that each location will receive between $500,000 to $750,000 in the 2014-2015 school year.

The Magnet School Assistance Program gives students a chance to demonstrate their skills through various projects rather tests.  The program provides direct career-oriented options for children.

Click here for map


“I’m so grateful that we received this grant,” said MSAP Project Director, Delsa Chapman. “The amount of time I have to organize the curriculum will be challenging. A summer is not enough.”

Lansing School District already offers a school for pre-kindergarten to 8th graders called STEM that focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“Data from STEM has shown that students are more excited to attend school and learn skills that apply to everyday applications,” said Everett High School Assistant Principal Dustin Gill. “High school students are bored of learning the same material over and over, I believe a lot of them will flock to this program.”

Several themes will be dispersed among the six schools.

Cavanaugh and Mt. Hope will focus on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) with sub-focuses on physical, manual, social and visual arts with a mathematical foundation.

A 4th grader at Cavanaugh hopes her parents enroll her into the art program. “I want to be a fashion designer when I grow up,” said 10-year-old Sharise Williams. “My friend and I love cutting out paper dresses and painting them.”

An example of Sharise Williams’ paper dress she painted


Zara Woder’s paper dress she painted in art class


Sharise Williams,10, and Zara Woder, 9, washing their hands in art class.






Fairview and Sheridan Road will house another STEM program that focuses on technological literacy related to biomedical and environmental engineering design. A strong emphasis will be imposed on robotics and mechanical design. Lewton Elementary School will incorporate the Spanish language with global studies. Both object and project-based learning will help students who want to specialize in foreign languages and cultural studies.

A full STEM curriculum for 600 students will be implemented at Everett High School with a new technology approach. Everett will also assist students with problem-solving and entrepreneurial skills.

Parents can choose whether or not to their children into a specific program.

“I’ve talked about the grant in some of my classes with students and it’s about 50-50 whether their parents agree with the magnet system,” said Heather Clark, 10th grade science teacher at Everett. “Some parents are concerned that their children won’t receive an all- around education.”

Families who want to apply can download the application from the districts website.

“The grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Magnet School Assistance Program has provided, what seems like, endless opportunities for our students,” Chapman


Buyers beware when purchasing dogs

Purchasing a dog online is easy, but the risks are great.

Part of the problem is puppy mills. A puppy mill is a large-scale commercial dog-breeding operation that places profit over the well-being of its dogs. Dogs from puppy mills are often severely neglected and undernourished, or they may have genetic defects because of irresponsible breeding practices, according to the ASPCA.

Shopping for a dog on Craigslist or other online sources could mean you are unknowingly buying a dog from a puppy mill or unethical breeders. You also risk being ripped off. If you pay that $50 deposit in advance, you may never see a puppy.

Lansing Township resident Mitchell Pitter found out these dangers the hard way after he purchased a puppy from a seller on Craigslist.

There are also sellers that post ads trying to “re-home” their unwanted pet for a low fee. This means that they are trying to get rid of their dog for some sort of reason. Whatever reason it may be for, the seller almost always charges a fee.

The problems that arise with re-homing pets can range from temperament issues like attacking children to health issues that the previous owner does not warn potential buyers about on Craigslist.

These ads do not show you the red flags. The sellers usually don’t care about the well-being of the dog, they just want to make some quick cash.

Seller looking to re-home their pet.

Seller looking to re-home their pet for a fee.

Todd Heywood, who wrote an article about buying pets on Craigslist for Lansing Online News, doesn’t see an upside to purchasing or “re-homing” a dog from the site.

“I don’t think buying a dog off Craigslist is a good idea for the average dog owner,” Heywood said. “The person who admits they can no longer provide a good life for their pet is making a dubious claim at best.”

As a former Humane Society shelter manager, Heywood knows what he is talking about when it comes to purchasing your pets.

“It is better to adopt a dog from a human society where the animal has undergone temperament testing as well as full examinations with a vet to make sure there are no health issues,” Heywood said. “As consumers, we have an obligation to be informed about the animals we are bringing into our homes, and this includes their previous safety conditions, health and other issues.”

A shelter puppy waits for someone to take him home.

A shelter puppy waits for someone to take him home.

Heywood said the best places to purchase a dog are from rescue programs if a buyer wants a certain breed, or the local shelter and humane society if they have no breed preference.

Local animal shelters such as Ingham County Animal Shelter have more than 100 neglected animals waiting to find a home.

Ashley Hayes of the Ingham County Animal Shelter believes that anyone looking to get a dog for companionship should purchase from the animal shelter.

“The animals here are ones that have been lost or unwanted due to no fault of their own,” Hayes said. “They are awesome dogs just looking for love.”

Hayes added that not only will they be giving love to a neglected dog, but they will also be saving the dog’s life.

Molly and Marley sit and wait for someone to adopt them.

Molly and Marley sit and wait for someone to adopt them.

“The animal is getting a second chance and the owner is saving the life of the animal they adopted and the animal that takes its place at the shelter,” Hayes said. “When animal shelters become full, they may have to resort to euthanizing healthy animals due to lack of space. Adopting shelter animals keep that from happening.”

Buyers looking to purchase a dog from Craigslist also run the risks of purchasing from a puppy mill. The Ingham County Animal Shelter rescues dogs from these wretched places.

“We have helped puppy mill dogs and assisted other counties with puppy mills as well,” Hayes said. “To anyone looking to purchase from a puppy mills, a lot of the dogs are raised in unsafe and unhealthy conditions, resulting in medical issues in the future. While we want those animals to be rescued and end up in homes, we also want to stop the owners from breeding animals in hazardous conditions.”

Hayes added that respectable breeders want to raise healthy animals while puppy mills worry about producing the most animals possible so they can sell them.

Kirbay Preuss of Preuss Pets agreed with Hayes that puppy mills are a cruel reality.

Location of Preuss Pets

“I have worked with customers at Preuss who have rescued dogs from very unsafe conditions, resulting in a lot of behavioral work and rehabilitation through proper diet, nutritional supplements and much needed vet care,” Preuss said.

Preuss also works with the Ingham County Animal Shelter and recommends that anyone looking to purchase a dog should do so from a local shelter. She also steers buyers away from sellers who are not reputable and advises to take caution when purchasing a dog.

A lonely puppy at the ICAS.

A lonely puppy at the ICAS.

“Anyone who is pushing a puppy online may have intentions that are not for your best interest or the dogs,” Preuss said. “Make sure the puppy is old enough to be away from the mother. Ask about vaccinations given and record of vaccinations. If the seller is unable to provide you with a view into the current condition the dog is living in, this may send a red flag. Not always saying this is the case, but it never hurts to be cautious. Listen to your gut about the conditions.”

Preuss wants everyone to know that buying a dog is not a decision to take lightly. Having a dog to take care of will change your life, but it may also save the dog’s life.

“I believe puppies can make wonderful pets when careful questioning is taken into consideration,” Preuss said. “Never rush the purchase of a pet. Think about the long-term obligations associated with ownership. Be responsible. Do your research and support healthy, safe, ethical practices.”

Lansing Lugnuts planning renovations to Cooley Law School Stadium

The Lansing Lugnuts are planning to add apartments and restaurants as part of a renovation plan. The plan to add as many as 100 apartment units and a year-round bar-and-grill would be ready by opening day of baseball season in 2016.


According to, the renovations would cost an estimated $22 million: half would be paid in bonds by the city and the other half by Lugnuts owner Tom Dickson and Lansing developer Pat Gillespie.


The project called ‘The Outfield’ would look to build apartments in the outfield of Coley Law School Stadium


In an interview with reporter Melissa Anders, Mayor Virg Bernero discussed renovating the stadium.


“Under that contract, I have to put major bucks into the stadium,” said Bernero. “As I say, I could take the minimalist view, and argue with the team and put in as little as possible, or I could take the value-added approach.”


Formally known as Oldsmobile Park, the stadium that opened in 1996 hasn’t be re-modeled since its original construction. The renovations are hoping to increase attendance (average attendance was 5200 in 2013) and add to the game experience.


Adding apartments to Lugnuts Stadium could compare to Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. There are many apartments near the Wrigley Field and home games can be seen from the rooftops of those apartments.


In addition to adding apartments that would surround the stadium, the renovations would include a year-round bar-and-grill. According to Anders, the restaurant would employ around 75 people. Anders also reported that Gillespie has not yet found a tenant for the restaurant.


The project to renovate Cooley Law School Stadium would additionally plan to rebuild the dugouts, scoreboard, locker rooms and the field itself. The plan also includes renovating suites, seating, concession stands and restrooms.


According to Lansing State Journal reporter Lindsay VanHulle, the proposal to approve bonds, a development agreement and a brownfield plan will need approval of Lansing City Council. Supporters are hoping to receive approval by May 1.


– Jacque De Witt