Keepin’ Cool at Oriole Dog Training Club, Halethorpe MD

Agility ring - Oriole Dog Training Club, Halethorpe MD

>> For more pictures and details about Oriole Dog Training Club, local restaurants in the area, and hotels where you can leave reviews, see the ODTC expanded section.

They were two warm days outside, but inside at the Oriole Dog Training Club AKC agility trial June 8 & 9, 2019, it was downright chilly.  The A/C in the building keeps the dogs nice and cool but some competitors wear sweatshirts and jackets.  However, nobody complains because the dogs love it!  Held at the ODTC training facility in the Benson Business Center on Azar Court, Halethorpe, MD, the trial filled with a waitlist. Other agility venues that have events in this location include CPE, USDAA, and NADAC.

Building updates, amenities

entry hallway with shiny new flooring at Oriole Dog Training Club, Halethorpe MD

Club members were proud to show off the new flooring that was just finished in the entry halls, and with good reason. They maintain a very clean, welcoming site for all who attend. 

The facility is located in a commercial park that is well-marked and has easy access, including a handicap ramp at the front door as well as handicap parking directly in front of the door. 

Other amenities in addition to easy access and the amazing A/C include:

  • The building is heated for winter events as well
  • There are five bathrooms inside (one ADA)
  • Free wi-fi
  • Great lighting

You have to bring your own lunch, but there are ample snacks and water for workers, along with workers raffles with varying gifts.  However, you must be careful to not have food on the sprint turf, which is kept very clean. 

dog crating room at Oriole Dog Training, Halethorpe MD

While you have to be respectful of crate space – which can get very tight with a trial that fills – the club definitely makes the most of the space they have: Two rooms for crating – one open to the ring area and one with a viewing window to the ring; they allow crating in the hallway and also permit crating along the left side of the ring – for quiet dogs only.

Getting your bearings

When you walk through the front door you are welcomed by ample signs. On the left side once you enter the door is the hallway that allows crating. This leads to the second crating room with the blue mat flooring which is open to the ring area by the trial secretary tables.  The ring location is obvious by the open door straight ahead.  On the hallway to the ring, you will pass by the worker snack room on the right and the hallway with the results/ribbons next to a crating room.  The bathrooms are just at the end of the hallways before entering the ring area. 

The agility ring

Agility ring with poles at Oriole DTC, Halethorpe MD

The sprint turf is fairly new (less than five years old) and is maintained well.  The dogs seem to get good traction and do not slip on it while running.

The ring is marked off from viewing and competitor areas with expandable, wood baby gates and MAD agility entry and exit gates.  There is a line of chairs for viewing against the wall in front of the ring entry area, and the warm-up jump is in the right corner of the room, separated by the ring with PVC frames with fabric panels.  The same dividers are used in the back of the ring to separate the competition area from the club storage area.

The right side of the ring is a solid wall, the back is PVC/fabric panels, and there is only crating on the right side of the ring.  There are three poles in the left third of the ring that make a straight line and are evenly spaced.  The trial secretary table is situated across from the left front corner of the ring for easy access to the results monitor for competitors.

The ring area is mostly quiet except for barking dogs from time to time, but there are no external noises or distractions from outside the building.  The equipment is owned by the club and is made by MAD Agility and ClipNGo.  There are no vendors due to the limited space.

Parking and dog potty areas

There is ample parking since this is part of a business center and the other businesses are mostly closed on the weekends.  Limited RV parking is only allowed during the day, so if you’re a camper you will have to find someplace to stay. 

Dog potty area across parking lot at Oriole DTC, Halethorpe MD

The only complaint heard was that the potty area is quite a distance across the parking lot and when it’s warm out the heat of the pavement can be a concern.  However, club members told me they are looking into getting something that could be rolled out for events to give a pathway across the parking lot to the large grassy area with potty bag dispenser and a can for disposal.  Problem solved!

Oh the MACH and PACH celebrations!

Smiling trial secretary Rhonda Toren at ODTC, Halethorpe MD

The club members are ever-present and there was never a wait for workers – everybody jumped in to help! Trial secretary Rhonda Toren helped make sure everything ran like clockwork, with efficiency and as much perfection as humanly possible.

MACH7 bar and huge ribbon with Jo Powers, her Corgi Bug, and Judge Jacqui O'Neill, posed in front of agility tunnel
Jo Powers with her dog Bug earned their MACH 7 with “your’s truly judge,” Jacqui O’Neill

There were several MACH and PACH celebrations this weekend and the workers’ snack table was often accompanied by celebration cakes, cookies, veggies, dips, and more. It was definitely a fun weekend. It’s a very happy, welcoming event with some of the biggest MACH ribbons I’ve ever seen. 

Jo Powers, who earned her MACH here, agrees. “ODTC has a great facility! They have super climate control, always nice and cool for the dogs. The footing has gotten better and better over the last several years and there are plenty of convenient bathrooms. The trial is always really well run and volunteers are well compensated with a great snack buffet, raffles, and coupons that can be used for future trial entry fees. And Oriole’s MACH ribbons are awesome!”

Just a word of note: if you want to enter this trial next year (AKC calendar week #23) get your entries in early because this event fills to capacity with an extensive waitlist.

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