As a rule, they tell you to come without your dog and just observe the first time.
Training starts with tracking if it's the weekend. If it's a weekday evening, obedience is first, followed by protection. You are expected to keep your dog securely crated in your car while others are training. A crate will allow you to have the windows and tailgate open for air circulation in hot weather.
The club will have a designated trainer who will help you learn the ropes. Most people in my part of the world use either hot dog bits as rewards for obedience or a ball on a string or a small burlap tug.
For protection, the helper will likely start your dog with a tug on a rope, or maybe a flirt pole to see what the dog has in the way of prey drive for a moving object. Once the dog is getting really excited about biting the tug, then the helper will likely start using a bite bag, or a small puppy sleeve, then gradually transition to a full sized sleeve.
I asked and they said go ahead and bring Luna, I have a crate and it will be the weekend LOL. From what I have been told by several people who do not know each other the helper is extremely good, I might be mistaken but I believe he did the nationals as a helper, I know he did regionals as one. I don't know anything about helpers but everyone says you cant get better.
Pay close attention to what the helper says instructing you. He expects you to do exactly as he says. His safety, yours and your dog depend on it. He says be a post, it means you do not move, no shuffling feet or moving from your position. Be sure you have a very solid grip on the leash. A good way is to make a slip loop in the handle and slide your hand through. Wear a light leather glove over this and it is nearly impossible to get the leash off your hand.
He may tell you to let the dog go at a certain point so be ready to release the leash so you will,have to take the glove off and get a good grip on the leash instead.
You will probably be surprised how hard the dog can pull.
A bad helper can ruin a dog. One of the helpers at my previous club would actually welt the dogs with his stick. He also would whack the dogs on the legs. He said this was to get the dog to jump up and grab the sleeve, but what I saw it doing was making the dogs back away to avoid getting hit.
We had a helper training seminar given by a very experienced trainer. He had absolutely NOTHING good to say about out decoy and the way he did things. It was one of several reasons I left that club!
First day went well. I did some basic tracking stuff, kind of like a moving sent pad type of thing. We did some obedience stuff, following me and seeing how she was, then we did some flirt pole stuff which she loved. Also just basic socializing getting to known the people. Everyone said I have a wonderful puppy which I took as people being nice. Then the helper came to me when I was leaving and said my puppy had some real potential I said I do not know what to look for and he said he would buy her from me. Then he joked I stepped in some crap with her because her potential is very good. I was very shocked by that. I do not know what makes a good IPO dog or puppy but both helpers where impressed and the helped asked me what breeder I got her from. He liked her biting with the flirt pole and her tracking potential besides that I have know idea what they saw in her for potential.
I'd guess by stepping in it, he means you may get a little obsessed about IPO. The better the dog, the more fun it can be for a lot of us. Besides the things he told you show potential, her being able to hang out and be social with people there is something I like to see.
One funny thing that did happen was a lady with a big horse race day hat wanted to say hi to Luna and when she knelt down luna was not having it she just walked the other walk. Me and the lady almost fell over laughing. Then there was a Belgium mal there that loved puppies. She tried to big under her owners feet to say hi to Luna, when they finally meet lunas tail was going so fast she made a rut in the dirt.