Yes, I've no doubt that this is a hot topic.
I am new to this board, so let me intro myself a bit.
I am an equine and small animal vet tech and practice manager. My husband is Dr. O of http://www.horseadvice.com
I have been in veterinary medicine for 22 yrs. small animal for 12 yrs., GSD's for about 15 yrs.
We currently have 5 GSD. Two are rescues, one of which, Senior Softee is perfect and the other, Lexi, is OCD. The other 3 are solid working line dogs. Hazel von Narnia (Czech bloodlines, from SCH III parents, imported from Canada), Coldwater Wichita, (Cheetah), Hazel's puppy, by Gildo von Wildferdeland (Dutch import, titled, works for a man who is a bail bondsman and bounty hunter) and Quen vom Mystical Haus, 6mos puppy, from German import parents, sire is SCH II.
My e-collar question is posed quite a bit to see what the opinions are. I have worked with Adam Witherspoon of Shiloh K9, who is an e-collar trainer. I have had dogs in about 8-9 acres of invisible fencing since 1996, with fabulous results.
One of our rescues, above mentioned OCD dog, Lexi is a very high drive dog, she is obsessive over me. She gets way too excited. The feed cart (gas golf cart modified for farm use) is in her way, so she will bite the tires, the horses are in her way, so she will bark and sometimes get too close to them with her teeth. When I am on the ground, i.e. not driving the cart or leading a horse, I can control her with voice commands. If I am driving the cart or handling a horse, she knows that I can't back it up with any correction. I have worked with the e-collar and she has respect, she knows if she has it on, a dummy doesn't work, she knows if it is turned on or not, she knows if I have the remote in my pocket. So long as I put it on her, turn it on, put the remote in my pocket and we all go to the barn, life is good. If i forget, I have to lock her in a stall to get my work done.
The e-collar allows her the control to be with me as I go about my barn chores, as opposed to being locked away in a stall to avoid a possibly dangerous situation.