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AMERICAN MOSAIC - Cesar Millan: Famous Dog Trainer, but Not All Experts Follow His Lead

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HOST:

Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.

(MUSIC)

I'm Doug Johnson. On our show this week:

We answer a question about American lawmakers ...

Play some music from the North Mississippi Allstars ...

.And report about a world famous expert on dogs.

The Dog Whisperer

HOST:

Americans own about seventy-three million dogs. Many people have problems training their animals. Some are turning to dog expert Cesar Millan. Faith Lapidus has more.

FAITH LAPIDUS:

Cesar Millan
Cesar Millan

Cesar Millan's television show is called "Dog Whisperer." It is broadcast in several countries, including the United States, Japan and Thailand. Millan has also written a book about his life and ideas about dog training. It is called "Cesar's Way: The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems."

The TV show and book try to improve the relationships between people and their dogs. Millan also works with difficult dogs at his Dog Psychology Center in Los Angeles, California.

Cesar Millan says dogs are happy and calm when they know and trust their leader. He says dog owners must be the leader or the dog will become confused and act in anti-social ways. The animal might become uncontrollable. It may bark all the time or even bite someone.

Cesar Millan says the best way to train a dog is to prevent this behavior in the first place. He says the owner must be a good leader and provide a lot of exercise to keep the dog happy.

Pet owners call on him when they have a problem. These situations appear on his television show, "Dog Whisperer." Recently, he visited a home where the dog barked loudly when people used some cooking equipment. The dog was afraid of the noise, and its loud barking was interfering with the lives of its owners.

Cesar Millan placed the dog in a small space. Then he operated the equipment very close to the animal until the dog stopped barking. The owners said the dog stopped being afraid of the noise after that.

However, not all dog experts agree with all of Millan's methods. They say it is true that dogs need good leadership and a lot of exercise. But they say it can be cruel and dangerous to force a dog to face its fears as in the example we described. They say the animal might attack. Some dog experts are concerned about people trying the methods they see on television without getting good advice about their own dog.

Cesar Millan has said that his methods are not the only ways to train dogs successfully. He also has said that people should seek professional help when trying to change their pet's behavior. And his television show repeatedly tells people not to try the methods without professional help.

Terms in Congress

HOST:

Our listener question this week comes from Dhaka, Bangladesh. Sabuj asks about the difference between the words "senator" and "congressman."

The Capitol building
The Capitol building

The United States Congress has two parts: the House of Representatives and the Senate. House lawmakers are called representatives. Those in the Senate are called senators. All of them can be called legislators. They can also be called members of Congress. But not all can be called congressmen. Why? Because some of them are women.

Currently, seventy-one of the four hundred thirty-five members of the House of Representatives are women. In the Senate, sixteen of the one hundred senators are women.

You might hear the media use the title of congressman or congresswoman for members of the House of Representatives. Rarely is a senator addressed this way, although it would not be wrong.

When Congress meets, there are special rules about how members behave. One of the rules deals with what to call a member. In the House of Representatives, members speak of another member as the "gentleman" or "gentlewoman" from the state they represent. They are not permitted to call members by name. Members also may speak of another member as "my colleague", or "my distinguished colleague." This is also true in the Senate.

Members of the House of Representatives must not speak until the speaker of the House calls on them to do so. In the Senate, the presiding officer gives permission for members to speak. Members of both houses of Congress are also barred from using offensive language in meetings.

All these rules deal with what is called congressional decorum. And, like all rules, sometimes they are violated. Punishment differs based on the violation. However, sometimes the worst punishment is unofficial. For example, offensive language on the floor of the House or Senate can seriously harm an elected official's public image.

The North Mississippi Allstars

HOST:

The North Mississippi Allstars play music that combines the sounds of southern blues with rock and roll. Their songs are an energetic mixture of old and new styles. Critics have praised the six albums this group has made over the years. They say the North Mississippi Allstars represent a new kind of musicians. Barbara Klein has more.

BARBARA KLEIN:

North Mississippi Allstars
North Mississippi Allstars

The North Mississippi Allstars are three musicians. Chris Chew and the brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson are all from the southern state of Mississippi. This is an area with a rich and old tradition of music. But these men do not just recreate music of the past. They have reinvented the sound of the blues into something fresh and different. Listen to "Deep Blue Sea" from their latest album, "Electric Blue Watermelon."

(MUSIC)

The Dickinson brothers grew up in a world filled with musical influences. Their father is a well-known record producer named Jim Dickinson. In fact, he helped the North Mississippi Allstars make this latest record. He says there is a special musical spirit in the Mississippi hill country.

Here is a song the band sings with the country singer Lucinda Williams. It is called "Hurry Up Sunrise".

(MUSIC)

The North Mississippi Allstars are performing around the United States. People around the country can hear their lively songs and experience a new version of the blues. We leave you now with the title song from an earlier album, "Fifty-One Phantom".

(MUSIC)

HOST:

I'm Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today.

It was written by Dana Demange, Nancy Steinbach and Caty Weaver, who was also our producer. To read the text of this program and download audio, go to our Web site, www.unsv.com. And join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA's radio magazine in Special English.

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