Runnin' with the Kennels

About This Blog

Sled dogs have held an essential role in the life and culture of Alaska for thousands of years. In Denali – the only national park in America with a working sled dog kennel – they now perform essential wintertime duties in a vast expanse of designated Wilderness area. Follow this blog for updates on their ongoing adventures, and accomplishments.

Learning About Dog Behavior

August 19, 2015 Posted by: Lori Young

In this post, we highlight how to speak sled dog by reading the body language of our Canine Rangers.


Inspiring the Next Generation

August 06, 2015 Posted by: Marinell Chandler

Student Conservation Association NPS Academy intern Garron and Youth Conservation Corps Alina talk about their experiences at the kennels and the many ways youth can help protect this nation’s beautiful places.


Pupdate #2, 2015

July 31, 2015 Posted by: Jennifer Raffaeli

The kennels gives an update on Rupee's litter of puppies who are growing up fast: Where they are now and what they're doing as they continue to learn about life as sled dogs.


What’s in a Name? NPS Centennial

June 24, 2015 Posted by: Marinell Chandler

In the 2nd Pupdate of the summer, we discuss the NPS centennial, how our new litter of pups was named, and what they’re up to now as they continue to grow.


Pupdate #1 2015

May 29, 2015 Posted by: Jen Raffaeli

An update on last summer's puppy Zahnie and his winter adventures, new dogs that joined our kennel over the winter, and information on this summer's litter of puppies born in May.


Training Trip

February 04, 2015 Posted by: Kelly Bell

We've talked about how we train our dogs, but you might be wondering how we train our human staff for their winter work on the trail. This was written by one of our winter kennels VIPs after our all staff training trip at the end of November.


Denali Dog Teams "In It for the Long Haul"

February 04, 2015 Posted by: Andrea Schneider

In January the dog teams and kennels staff set out to complete two hauling projects that were the result of a dedicated effort by many Denali NPS staff and volunteers last summer.


All About Puppy Training

August 04, 2014 Posted by: Julie Carpenter

How we train our puppies to be Canine Rangers of Denali.


What's next for Wilderness?

June 12, 2014 Posted by: J. Raffaeli

Some reflections on our special partnership patrol to clean up abandoned barrels in the designated Wilderness area around May Lake in Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve.


Wilderness Through the Eyes of a Student Conservation Association (SCA) Intern

May 20, 2014 Posted by: Marinell Chandler

SCA intern Marinell shares her first impressions of Denali and the significance of our sled dogs in making visitor connections and protecting wildlife and wilderness for future generations.


Working Together for Wilderness in Gates of the Arctic

March 10, 2014 Posted by: Jen Raffaeli

Kennels staff and canine rangers leave Denali for an oil barrel haul and Wilderness Act outreach in Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve.


A Few Degrees of Separation

February 09, 2014 Posted by: Patty Del Vecchio

In a warm January that created challenging mushing conditions, we reflect how global climate change is incorporated into the definition of wilderness.


Searching for Scat

January 15, 2014 Posted by: Jamie Dittmar and Julie Carpenter

One of the kennels main projects this winter is providing assistance collecting scat samples for a study of mesocarnivores in the park.


Happy 50th Anniversary Wilderness

December 22, 2013 Posted by: Jayme Dittmar

The Denali Kennels is dedicating all blogs this winter to the Wilderness Act to celebrate it's 50th Anniversary.


Tradition, Tenons, and Drills... oh my!

November 10, 2013 Posted by: Lauren Gomes

On Nov.1, 2013 sled builder Matt Emslie trained the kennels staff in the art of traditional basket sled building. He helped us replace a very worn set of runners on the summer demo sled that he built for us a few years ago.


More than the leash

September 11, 2013 Posted by: Jayme Dittmar

The tie between volunteer dog walker and canine ranger extends far beyond the leash that physically connects them.


The Personalities Behind the Cute

July 18, 2013 Posted by: Jayme Dittmar

Prusik, Munter and Clove just finished their puppy testing to help us determine their abilities and training strategies we can use to prepare them for the trail.


Summer 2013 Pupdate

June 19, 2013 Posted by: J.Raffaeli

The story behind this year's litter of pups. How the breeding was chosen.


Winter Wrap Up

June 11, 2013 Posted by: J. Raffaeli

A look back at a few of the projects the kennels dogs assisted with this winter.


The Toklat Narrows

February 05, 2013 Posted by: S.Hayes

Kennels staff hauls supplies along the North boundary, travel the Toklat Narrows, and Tephra earns a gold star for her performance in lead.


Retiring Dogs and the Adoption Process

February 05, 2013 Posted by: Jen Raffaeli

After many years of dedicated service, our NPS canine rangers deserve a wonderful retirement just like our human rangers.


Zen and the Art of the Gee Pole

December 12, 2012 Posted by: Jess Toubman

A more in depth look at our recent training in how to use the traditional gee pole to steer a heavy sled.


Being your Best: How We Train our Canine Athletes

November 26, 2012 Posted by: Corrie Lane

What goes into training a Denali sled dog? We discuss the different aspects of training and maintaining a working sled dog including mental and physical training as well as nutrition and health.


The Scoop on Poop

August 26, 2012 Posted by: Julie Carpenter

The Perfect Puppy

August 23, 2012 Posted by: Jen Raffaeli

This blog was written to supplement the Puppy Paws Episode 4 video. If you haven't seen the Puppy Paws videos you can watch them on the kennels page at Read on if you are curious to know more about what traits, both physical and mental, we are looking for in our puppies.


The Dogs Days of Summer

August 03, 2012 Posted by: Bryan Marshall, Kennels SCA

This week, we take you behind the scenes of one of Denali's most popular Ranger programs, the summer sled dog demonstration. Enjoy this sneak peak and perhaps you will get a first hand view of the action at some point this summer. It happens three times a day during peak season and you can find out more at


Pupdate - Tatum, Carpe, Koven and Cache

June 05, 2012 Posted by: Jen Raffaeli

An update on last summer's puppies - Tatum, Carpe, Koven and Cache.


The Next Generation

May 11, 2012 Posted by: Jennifer Raffaeli

Well, last summer’s pups are nearly grown up. Not really, but in many ways it feels like it. They are not quite full sized adult dogs yet, but they have outgrown their fluffy puppy bodies and are acting more and more like grown up sled dogs. They are excellent skijorers and joined the team with the big dogs pulling the sled on patrols. So what is next? It is time to think about the next generation.


Animals Wild and Domestic Define Denali's Winter Wilderness

March 22, 2012 Posted by: Jenn Raffaeli

Helicopter or Huskies? The Triple Lake Trail Haul

January 27, 2012 Posted by: Matt King and Jess Toubman

Sometimes Dog Mushing can be a Drag

January 24, 2012 Posted by: Michael Raffaeli

The gift of breaking trail

January 07, 2012 Posted by: Jenn Raffaeli

Experiments in Insulation

December 30, 2011 Posted by: Sarah Hayes

Let the patrols begin(and the hard work continue)!

December 22, 2011 Posted by: Michael Raffaeli

Falling in and out of Fall at the Kennels

December 02, 2011 Posted by: Jessica Toubman

Cabin Stocking

November 13, 2011 Posted by: Jenn Raffaeli

What is the "Dog Box"?

November 07, 2011 Posted by: Alex Lindeman

How Quickly They Grow Up

August 23, 2011 Posted by: Jenn Raffaeli

How Pingo's Puppies Came To Be

August 15, 2011 Posted by: Kristin Knight

Springtime in Alaska

April 06, 2011 Posted by: Jenn Raffaeli

A Special Project

April 06, 2011 Posted by: Michael Raffaeli

Wind, Whiteouts, and Wonder...or not

March 20, 2011 Posted by: Kristin Knight

100 Degrees of Separation

February 20, 2011 Posted by: Michael Raffaeli

A Silent Appreciation

February 06, 2011 Posted by: Kristin Knight

Sled Dogs and Iron Dogs

January 14, 2011 Posted by: Jenn Raffaeli

The Right Dogs for the Trail

January 04, 2011 Posted by: Kristin Knight

On dogs and trail-breaking

December 29, 2010 Posted by: Kristin Knight

Reading Ice

December 20, 2010 Posted by: Jen Raffaeli

Days on the Trail

December 18, 2010 Posted by: Jen Raffaeli

Breaking Trail to Mile 28

December 12, 2010 Posted by: Jessica Toubman

A mattress-hauling adventure

December 09, 2010 Posted by: Kristin Knight

Every Winter Lover's Nightmare

December 07, 2010 Posted by: Michael Raffaeli

First Night Out of the Season

December 07, 2010 Posted by: Michael Raffaeli

Just another day at the office

November 21, 2010 Posted by: Kristin Knight

And We're Off!

November 15, 2010 Posted by: Kristin Knight

Waiting for snow to fall

November 07, 2010 Posted by: Kristin Knight

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