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I am not referring to handler help, but more of your energy level and body language. What kind of distractions do you expose your dog to while training heeling?
I've had my older Shepherd do retrieves 5' from a playing Mariachi band. Heeling to and away. Trial Wise is a lot more then distractions. Different dogs, different reasons.
 

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I mainly use nonverbal training, which does confuse other dog owners, but I’ve found nonverbal training to be much easier to train. For instance, if we are all in the backyard and play time is over, they rush to the back door. I walk up, and won’t touch the door until they back off. Not a word spoken. They look up at me, back up, and sit.
That's basically default behavior, I haven't heard of it referred to as nonverbal training before. Whether you initially train it verbally or not, eventually the dog learns to offer certain behaviors under certain circumstances in order to get the desired result. They default to it because they know it works - you won't open the door until everyone backs away and sits. I like default behaviors too, I consider that part of basic house rules. They know to wait at doors until invited to go through, to sit while I put food bowls down and look at me until released to eat, etc.

Is there a necessity for a verbal command? Not being snarky at all, genuinely curios. I have trained verbal in my earlier dog years, and I felt like I never got the bond I get when I train nonverbally. When I did competition, there was a level of verbal communication, but I stopped competing well over 10yrs ago, and prefer the level of focus and bond I get with nonverbal. Are there pro’s and con’s for training either way?
Personally, I think having both verbal commands and hand signals for various behaviors is beneficial, and neither preclude also having default behaviors, however you choose to train them. If you don't compete in anything and as such are not constrained by the rules of any particular sport then it probably doesn't matter. Hand signals are typically easier to train than verbal commands since our dogs are masters of body language and much more in tune with our posture, tone of voice, and movement than we are with theirs, but that only gets you so far if your dog isn't actually looking at you or can't see you. A lure motion can be faded to a hand signal, and from there, the motion can be associated with a verbal cue. Default behaviors are great for a generally well behaved dog but I don't see how they'd translate well to competition.

But if you don't think you need to teach verbal commands, then don't. What's "necessary" for one person isn't necessarily important for everyone.
 
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