Whether you're moving things around the house or traveling with your dog, folding up a dog crate or cage can be frustrating if you don't follow a few simple steps. While you'll eventually be able to figure it out, you'll avoid a bruised or cut finger or bending the bars of the cage if you use the same step-by-step procedure each time to collapse dog crates.
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Even reading the directions that come with a folding metal dog crate can be confusing depending on who wrote the instructions. The key is to go slow and do everything right the first time, rather than guessing and repeating steps until you figure it out.
Read the directions
This may seem obvious, but if you can refer to the instructions that came with the crate, you'll most likely get diagrams that alert you to the different parts you might not notice in the beginning. To collapse dog crates quickly and efficiently, be sure to read the directions in order instead of skipping around and look for any tips or warnings at the beginning or end of the instructions.
This will also help you figure out how to quickly set the crate up in a pet-friendly hotel room or at a friend's house if you're taking your dog on a trip with you.
Examine the crate all over
If you don't have the directions for the crate, take a look at the various parts of the crate before you get started. Look at one or both doors (if it has two) and all four sides. You should notice some differences on at least one or two sides of the crate that clue you into the fact that these are the sides that have the collapsing mechanisms on them.
If you're folding a friend's cage, look to see if they've modified it in any way. You might need to remove a divider or pan. Looking before you leap will help you prevent broken nails or bruised fingers. Once you've gone over the cage, you're ready to begin.
Start with the doors
Many dog cages won't collapse unless the doors are closed. This means you'll want to secure the doors shut, rather than just closing them. Close any clasps until you hear the click. Give the doors a gentle pull to make sure they won't open unless you undo whatever latch or clasp you used to close them.
Move to the sides
Check out the sides of the crate where they meet the top, looking for wire or wires that act as hooks that fasten the sides to the top of the cage. Press firmly on the top of the cage until the wire under the hooks is away from (under) the hooks.
Depending on what type of cage you have, you might need to do the opposite. You will lift the top of the cage away from a hook or hooks, pushing the hooks down and forward into the cage
Once the top and sides have separated, push the side forward until it collapses into the cage, resting flat on the floor of the cage. Repeat the process on the other side. You should now have a two-sided cage.
Fold once more
Once you have the two sides resting on the floor of the crate, you'll have a wobbly, two-sided cage. Push the cage to one side, making sure the side of the cage with the door collapses onto the two sides that are resting on the floor of the cage. You will then take the other wall of the cage and fold it on top of the other three sides/walls.
Latch it shut
The crate should be uniformly folded together, so you might think you're done. In order to prevent your crate from unfolding when you pick it up, look for a latch on one of the sides of the crate, which is used for latching the folded crate together.
Check out videos
If you're still having trouble folding your crate, a number of people have put helpful videos on YouTube that show you how to fold your crate in about a minute. If you know the brand or model number of your crate, use that to get to a more specific video. You can also put the brand name and model number into Google, select "videos" above the search results, and find a video that way.
Cover the cage
If you'll be traveling with the cage or carrying it over any surface you don't want to get scratched, consider putting the cage in a plastic garbage bag, blanket, or box to avoid any scratches, as well as any pet food, litter, or liquids from dropping or leaking out.