In the course of teaching a lot of different types of dog training course; whether for sport or work, I find myself making the same observations. A big one is that trainers of all types get way to hung up on the mechanics of a task. Take police k9 detection tasks; something that I am teaching at the moment. I could take a clicker and a handful of treats and teach a great many dogs to nose touch an odor and then sit. However I need a dog that will do all of the above in the presence of a massive amount of distraction, when he is tired, when his handler is distracted, when it is in a place where it has never been in training. For that I need a dog that not only understands the correct exercise but also has the right attitude. In the course of my travels lately I have seen a lot of examples of where the trainer or handler was "winning the battle" and getting a certain behavior but "losing the war" by detracting from the dogs enthusiasm or understanding.
Two more weeks of detection training in the Washington DC area. We have worked with a large group of really fun, highly motivated police k9 trainers. Dogs have been excellent too.