You're specifically allowed to clap your hands, encourage your dog, etc. It's not meant to be traditional obedience, not sure why following the rules is a dirty sin or why it wouldn't qualify.I've personally watched people get qualifying scores on courses where they have to clap their hands and yell, "C'mon! Come get the cookie! Look what Mommy has!" while going past the Offset Figure 8.
They're not necessarily pretending to hold a treat. Many of my hand signals are similar to what they were when I was teaching skills and did have treats in my hand, but the lures were faded long ago and they're just the signal I continue to use. For example, my hand signal for a lure is holding my two fists together against my stomach with my index fingers pointing downward. For finishes, similarly I have my hand in a fist with just my index finger pointing. I'm not pretending to hold treats, that's just how I hold my hands.The next time you go to a trial, watch everyone when they have to do a front - almost every single one of them will hold their fingers together and pretend to be holding a cookie to "lure" their dog into a (usually slow and crooked) front.
And yea, sometimes his fronts are crooked. And I don't really care. So what? That's why I do Rally instead of obedience, which I will never do. It's a fun alternative with relaxed standards for those of us who are mediocre trainers, it doesn't really pretend to be anything else. *shrug*