I think I could scream everytime that I see people put down theses trainers at Petsmart. There are some really good ones if you look. Some of them actually love their job and do it because they love it not for a paycheck. My dogs and I learned more there then any other place including the GSD club. It's different kind of training completely. The GSD club just kinda threw you out there and you watch and learn. My Petsmart trainer takes the time to address issues that she sees and concerns people have about their dogs. She spends one on one time with you and is always available to answer questions. There are three levels. The things that are covered are sit, down, stand, sit/stay for a minute and a half, down stay for 3 minutes, paw, back, front, side, around, stand/stay, sitting for petting, sitting for brushing, , walking through a crowd, leave it, watch , bang bang, walking in pairs with another dog, come, agility(tunnel, jump, and tire), heel, loose leash walking, about turns, right turn, left turn, spin, and touch. All items that are on the CGC test are touched on and the trainer offers an extra class after they graduate from the last class to do a test run of CGC test, then schedules the test do everyone can do it. I don't think that is to shabby for Petsmart training or a trainer. Oh and her dogs are titled in obedience, rally, and agility and they are all therapy dogs(2 Rotts and a pug). Do your research, find out what each class offers and watch a couple different classes in order to make your decision. It can be a stepping stone for your end goal.
I dissagree with the stepping stone into IPO....it may be something that has to be worked on to fix instead.
IF the question was more about IPO foundation which a pet trainer usually doesn't have a clue about...best to get with a club early on and not waste time squashing the drive that the pet type trainer is use to doing.
How many petco/petsmart trainers allow drive building/tug as a reward? Or allow the dog to bark at and push the handler for more engagement?