Did you ask him what he does to build/cap drive?
I did some sessions with Karlo of praise only just before we did the BH and it back-fired. I knew that the ball/tug/food was not going to help us in the heeling pattern so got Karlo use to praise only and endurance heeling. He isn't a drivey over the top flashy head up eye constantly on me heeling dog. He'd rather check in with me, but watch what is going on around him when we train.
After we did the B I went back to ball reward and he was much more animated, focused on me and pleasing to get to the reward.
I would have liked to ask the old timer how he trained without rewards...as long as you aren't over tugging to the point of losing the reason for the reward, I don't see a ball/tug or treat as a problem?
Jane, there was a bit of a language barrier (he spoke mostly German) so I couldn't really get into much of a discussion with him even though I would of liked too. Our German speaking member was not here today (working).
I have taken the reward away from Stark because he is not really "into anything" like a ball or tug, he is more animated with praise and if I break into a play/wrestle match with him a bit. Throw him back, allow some jumping on me, really rough house with him.
Stark is also the same with his heeling, although getting MUCH better. He tends to like to look around and I will get burst of eye contact for about 10-20 paces and then he needs to give a look about then comes back to me. He is ready for his BH but to me, I don't like this aspect of his heeling so we are continuing to work on it. I know, I am picky! Especially with how far he has come.... I think I just need to suck it up and do it.
As for the rewards, I am assuming - just my opinion of what was discussed - he uses corrections and praise to get the dog to comply. He himself admitted to using "old German ways" while working the dogs. Who knows.
I have never had any issues with using a toy/ball/tug to reward and never even considered them breaking a tooth from these things. I mean, look at these dogs bite into the sleeve for goodness sake, a french linen tug or ball on a rope ain't the thing that is going to cause damage in my opinion.