Ya a 10 second solid pause doesn't seem right. It's been awhile since I sat here and clicked on things and stared at the dock. What I'm really getting is maybe a 1 second pause (if that) and maybe a few seconds of stuttering, and that stuttering is mainly if I'm scrolling back and forth along the dock to make it zoom while the app is loading.
Here are a couple of settings you can try in the OD configuration window to see if it helps. I'm on ODPlus so the free might vary a little but it should be very similar:
Click on General on the left side, click on the Performance Options button about 2/3 down on the right side, make sure "Memory / Speed Optimization" option has "Optimize for performance" checked. See if that helps.
Then also in the General section, click on the Troubleshooting options button and select everything. Then unload and restart OD. See if that helped. If it did, you can narrow down what you've disabled. (A docklet that has a problem can cause a lot of trouble, might want to start there.)
You can also click on Appearance on the left side and make sure that the Background transparency slider is set all the way to the right on "Opaque". That's about 3/4's down on the right side window. That might make the dock slide a little smoother but I don't really think it'll address the launch pause.
Also, if you're running 64 bit XP or Vista, that could be causing a problem (not supported). Or I suppose Windows 7 at this point.