Here's an update for you!
I attended the temperament testing training seminar this weekend at the local shelter.
Right now, I am on information overload as well as quite a bit sore (more on that later).
The morning portion of the TT consisted of us watching a video of a presentation that Kelley Bollen gave at our shelter when the shelter first considered beginning a TT program. In her presentation, Ms. Bollen provided a lot of information about animal behavior (focusing on dogs), i.e., how to read body language (a really good refresher for me!). She also presented the findings of her 2 year long study of TT at the MSPCA.
Prior to breaking for lunch, the trained volunteers conducted 3 TT on dogs currently in the stray area of the shelter who were waiting for their TT so that they could be moved over to adoption. The trainees were tasked with simply observing the test. The first dog tested was a tiny little beagle girl who was just terrified. She was shaking so badly but her behavior was indicative of fear and not aggression. It was determined that she passed her TT but would do best in a home without children under 8. Ideally, she would be put in foster first to help her learn how to be more social and calm in everyday situations. It was really hard for me to be objective while I watched her TT... I have a beagle mix at home and all I wanted to do was swoop down on this little girl and love on her. I know, not the best approach, so I had to sit on my hands and concentrate on what the trainers were doing.
For the second TT, the trainees were tasked with observing and then filling out the TT form. After the test, we would compare notes to see how well we observed the behaviors. The dog tested was a pit mix of some sort that a rescue group had expressed interested in - they had asked the shelter to evaluate him, and if he passed his TT and his health check, they would pull him out and find him a home. If memory serves (again, information overload!) he passed his TT and the rescue is scheduled to come look at him in person today.
The third dog tested, a shepherd mix, did not pass his TT. He displayed aggressive behavior to the volunteers sitting in the room as well as a couple of the officers that passed through. His barking and aggressive body language caused him to fail in many areas of the test.
After lunch, it was time for us trainees to gain some hands on experience. As I mentioned, there were 4 of us involved in the training - 3 women and 1 man. We temp tested an 8 week old lab-mix puppy, a 3 year old male min-pin (who actually snapped at and bit the volunteer during the food test), a 3 year old terrier mix, and the dog that I tested was 75 pounds of pit bull mix muscle (this is why I said I am sore - he was obviously a lot stronger than me, and very hard to control on leash).
Of these 4 dogs, two passed, one was borderline (the dog I tested - they are going to look for a rescue), and one failed (the min-pin for biting as well as other infractions noted during the test).
Now that a few days have passed, I've had some time to process the experience. I think I can continue with the temp testing program, provided I can remember the following:
1. Do not allow preconceived notions about any breed (good OR bad) cloud my judgment during the tests.
2. Remember that not all dogs that come into the shelter may not be suitable for adoption by the general public. Some dogs may do well in a rescue, and the others... well, that's a tough call. All I can do as a volunteer is observe and let more weighty decisions be made by vets and shelter staff.
3. I need to practice that vet tech hug on my dog! Yeah... I had no idea what I was doing during that part of the test.
Thanks for reading such a lengthy post. I just wanted to follow up on the experience so that those who took the time to reply to my OP knew where things stood.