Yeah it's called IPO, French Ring, Agility, Hunting......
I don't know of any actual dog specific studies that prove what you're asking OP, but it's classic operant conditioning. We know this works, its been born out for along time.
No dog with a decent amount of fight or spirit (aka drive) is ever going to be completely controlled by positive reinforcement alone, at some point it has to be established that doing what I say ISN'T optional. Period, full stop. You don't show that by giving rewards.
And by the way, the people you reference in your first paragraph... they're right! Compulsion training can destroy your bond with a dog and shut down a dog's spirit (drive to work). It might do what you want because it must, but it's never going to reach it's full potential. Ecollars can cause stress especially if you're using them to train a new behavior. Positive reinforcement IS better at training a new behavior.
But the conclusion they reach is the problem, it's classic confirmation bias. They WANT positive only training to work, so they latch onto any evidence they can find and twist it to suit their needs. The problem is because they want things to be nice and don't want to punish their dog, thus they draw some highly suspect logical conclusions.
Stress is merely your bodies physiological response to a challenge, it effects your body in a variety of ways but the simplest way to explain it is it releases adrenaline into your body. I think we've all taken high school biology, so you'll understand that in and of itself, stress isn't good or bad. It can be extremely helpful or if there is too much or it goes on continuously for too long is when it causes damage.
So causing stress shouldn't be something you fear exposing your dog to, you just need to be mindful to take things slow and progressive and not go overboard. And of course, if properly structured, challenges (i.e. stressors) can build confidence and reduce stress over time.
And again, yeah e-collars can cause stress it's a challenge, it causes pain (however mild that may be) and thus presents a choice, keep doing what I want and deal with this negative stimuli or give in. That's why it's generally not advised to be used to train a new behavior. It's used to reinforce that an already trained behavior will be done despite the circumstances or to stop a dangerous behavior.
Long and short is that dogs might not be humans, but they're still mammals. They're not some alien species. The same chemicals and brain functions exist in them as they do in us, merely on a more rudimentary and basal level. This topic is severely over analyzed sometimes, and arguments get taken to reductio ad absurdum by their own proponents. Strange stuff, kinda reminds me of politics.
ETA grammer <- (yes, that was a joke LOL)
"German Shepherds are cool dogs... You're welcome" - Memoirs of Cpt Stephanitz 1933
You see, a Malinoisí love is very different from that of a square - Prof. Adolph Reul
Millicent Mae WLGSD 4/27/17 &
Grendel KNPV Malinois 2/15/18
Last edited by Tennessee; 08-24-2017 at 01:41 PM.