We have a 2 year old male standard poodle, who is a wonderful dog by the way, and have done some training with him in the past - mainly centered on food and use of an e-collar. He is completely responsive to both food and e-collar, but is fairly independent and hard to motivate otherwise. What are some methods for enhancing our bond, and his obedience, without having a pocket full of food at all times?
1) throw away the e-collar. Poor timing on these (and most people's timing sucks) tends to result in poor behaviour, and the dog being frightened to try new behaviours. They are an easy way to cause yourself unnecessary dog-related problems, and the science backs this up.
See also: http://www.greenacreskennel.com/dog-behavior-and-training/the-unintended-consequences-of-shock-collars.html
2) carry food instead and reward for good behaviour. Poor timing here will have much less awkward consequences than punishment, and carrying food is not a hard thing to do.
3) give it time. Your dog has a personality and he is currently at just the age when he's testing boundaries and likely to be more independent. You need to let your bond with him develop into friendship, and this takes time, just as it does with human friends. (Consider also, that if you made your human friends behave the way you want by zapping them when they didn't want to do what you said, they too might become hard to motivate).