Ok I'll bite. I do appreciate a more intellectual discussion and am not here for the echo chamber effect where naysayers say NAY. I do flat out disagree with the uses mentioned here, but that's just my training methodology and ethics.
Here are a few odds and ends that stick out for me.
-This was not addressed directly enough. E-collars have the potential to increase anxiety, reactivity, and aggression. They can flat out ruin a dog. "Can" doesn't mean "will." But paired with the below point, it truly makes for a discouraging picture...
-MOST people are using it wrong. It's all fine and dandy if the tool is used to redirect a dog, acts as a secondary reinforcer, or a harmless prompt for attention. I do agree that it isn't a bad sensation on certain dogs, on the right dog and used in a positive way. However, all the so-called "good" e-collar trainers have this huge list of very particular things you need to do or not do to use the tool "correctly". Yet they sell these devices right off the shelves to consumers who don't even understand basic learning theory. If I teach a person reinforcement-based training and their knowledge is a little lacking, or their timing is a bit off, they usually still get some good results and there really is no harm from the methods. So my first complaint is this is a tool that is widely marketed, commonly used, and hard to "correctly" use. I think dog training should be fun and easy for all parties involved. I invite children to participate in my classes. A tool that has a running list of potential red flags does not make it accessible for the common pet owning population.
-Not only are the unintended consequences of improper use negative, but they can be downright dangerous. People have inadvertently used e-collars to erase bite inhibition. In fact, a few weeks ago when I was involved in the discussion on the other thread about training techniques, I closed DF and went onto Facebook... And right in front was a post from a woman who needed stitches at the hospital because a dog owner INVITED the woman to pet their dog who was sitting. The woman did not know that the owner was stimming the dog the entire time. So the dog went from sitting to delivering a level 4 bite (my opinion based on the photos) out of the blue. (My FB is not inundated with dog-things, btw. And in fact it is rare for me to see any dog posts on my page). This is one out of many examples.
-I find it redundant. For a dog that is amped up by, or responds to, touch (like my Dutch, who loves it when I slap him around quite hard), I would rather teach a dog to respond to MY touch. For a dog that would blow off verbal but respond to the stim as a prompt, I would teach a dog to respond to an audial cue before it would be at that distance. For a dog that knows the stim as a marker or secondary reinforcer, I would use my voice or other audial signal instead. I've heard "but what about dogs with super high prey drive who 'don't hear you' when you call them?" and I find that by going back to square one and, without using aversive tools, teaching impulse control games... and especially impulse control games centered around prey drive (tug, fetch, flirt pole)... you can teach a dog to "hear" you. It's called the process of learning. Most people go through Acquisition and Fluency and use aversive tools so they don't REALLY need to work on Generalization. Then, the e-collar stays on for Maintenance. With dogs who are harder to motivate, I think owners should control more motivators and the dog should get very few things for free. And let's say, you have a dog who doesn't respond to verbal cues when on a chase so you 'correctly' used an e-collar. The stim is low, the dog has learned to like the collar, and the stim prompts the dog out of chasing and has it come back to you.Happy dog.... Okay, so in theory you could pair a verbal cue with the stim and teach a dog to respond to verbal, then fade the stim. But somehow e-collar users don't do it that way and the dog is always on the collar. All of this suggests to me, that the e-collar is used IN LIEU of going through a well though out training plan to build impulse control.
So for the examples listed, barking in the truck... Not-reacting has not been generalized in the truck. For blowing off cues during adolescence... Dogs' brains are changing during this time. Things in the environment become more motivating and they no longer feel the need to cling to their person for safety. When the environment becomes more motivating, I become more motivating, I use stricter management, or I lower my expectations and restructure my training plan. Using an aversive tool during this time is indicative of the owner unwilling to work through it using positive means, not that positive means are ineffective.
Here's how I trained my Dutch to be VERY calm in vehicles. He is very quick to react, and I could see him being the kind of dog that paces in the back seat, snapping at wind, whining and barking at stimuli. When he was a puppy he rode in a draped crate. Then, an undraped crate. I would NEVER let him out unless he offered a down. If he was standing I would stand outside the car and wait for him to lie down, only then would I open the car door. If he got up, I would shut the car door again. No cues given. He only got out of the car if he chose to maintain in a down until I said otherwise. So, his default behavior for vehicles is to lie down and be calm. When I removed the crate, the behavior was still there. When I put him into a different vehicle, the behavior was still there. He chooses to stand sometimes when I leave him in the vehicle. I don't care if he ends up barking at passerbyers, but at 1 year old he has not. I also did (and still do, as I am aware he has not reached his adult mentality yet) plenty of CC/DS games with people and all sorts of stimuli as we go many places. I know that dogs don't generalize well, but I think the consistency and intensity that I applied to this training is helping him generalize quicker. But.... Who wants to do all these things, right?
I know my Dutch is a Dutch and I am aware that he innately has a high desire to please and work with me. However, I have seen positive techniques and very reasonable amounts of management used to successfully train many different kinds of dogs. There was a very textbook Husky in my shelter who then took a class when she was adopted. In the shelter, she refused all but raw chicken. Not even hotdogs were appealing to her. And even raw chicken was just 'okay' to her. She was an escape artist and could clear 6' fences with ease. She was a chicken killer. She acted like she'd never been on a leash before. In class... Here was this husky doing amazing recalls (on a long line), outside, surrounded by dogs, for treats and a chance to play tug. Sure, she didn't appreciate the repetition that the shepherd/X enjoyed. My rottie/retriever is very environmentally motivated and when I used to use aversive tools (prong collar. But I would have used an e-collar if someone had put it in my hands instead) I struggled with recall. His recall is amazing and has been for many years now. I have many other stories. For better or for worse, I have a large and diverse population to work with. But point being, I have never met a dog who I thought was untrainable, unmanageable, or unsafe enough that an e-collar (or other aversive tool) would be needed.
So at the end of the day, I think Ian Dunbar said it best: "To use shock as an effective dog training method you will need: A thorough understanding of canine behaviour. A thorough understanding of learning theory. Impeccable timing. And if you have those three things, you don't need a shock collar."
ETA. My last reason for not liking them and this is personal... I am lazy. I like simple. I don't want to carry around something with batteries. My equation for training is to quickly get to needing as few things as possible when I take my dogs out. My dogs can hike naked, no leash, no harness or line, and I am not worried at all (roads, deer, other dogs, people, traps on public land, blind turns, etc.), even without treats in my pocket. Honestly, I am more worried about a hunter accidentally shooting my dogs than I am of my dogs doing something bad. If I want to train, it's so much easier to carry some snacks in my pocket. I don't need to fumble for it because by the time I reach for them my dogs have ALREADY performed the desired behavior.