Urban Hound Playground gives dogs room to roam

Family dog Gus at Urban Hound Playground. Photo by Michelle Bruch

For a dog daycare and boarding facility, Urban Hound is unusually quiet. Owner Paul Vogelgesang said that’s thanks to the cage-free atmosphere.

Urban Hound aims to keep a low handler-to-dog ratio. By doing so, they can allow dogs who aren’t kenneled at home to roam free at the daycare as well. Dogs are grouped by size, and they interact with each other and staff all day in 13,000 square feet of space. (Crates are still available upon request.)

“We really do encourage interaction with our handlers,” Vogelgesang said. “We play with them all day long. … By the time night rolls around, they’re kind of tired.”

Emma Vogelgesang at Urban Hound Playground, a family-run business.
Emma Vogelgesang at Urban Hound Playground, a family-run business.

Vogelgesang hit on the idea after boarding his dog Milo during a two-week vacation. Upon returning, he discovered that three-quarters of Milo’s food was untouched, and nothing had been done to encourage him to eat. Vogelgesang said Urban Hound works well for anxious dogs that don’t use a crate at home.

“You put them in a kennel and you see the anxiety level skyrocket,” he said. “…We make sure that family member of yours who comes to us is taken care of.”

The family-run dog daycare is approaching a year of business in Windom. Family members often work together at the daycare on Sundays, including Paul’s wife Julie and their kids Emma, Jack and Katrina (who helped write the business plan and marketing plan). Paul’s sister Mary Beth works as general manager, and they employ lead handler Megan Wetzel.

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The family is considering further expansion at 6045 Pillsbury Ave. S., perhaps through a grooming service or self-serve dog wash.

Vogelgesang also operates Aqua City Irrigation & Lighting in the building. His family started Aqua City Plumbing, which first launched in Richfield in the late ‘50s.

“We have a long history in Minneapolis,” he said.