Like some other reviews stated, putting the top on first makes total sense and the the directions have been updated. The only snag in the directions was it did not mention that you need to attach the back first, THEN the sides. If you attach one of the sides first, the dowels will make it impossible to put on the back. It did not smell bad and other than the dowel issue, installation was easy and I'm no super-handyman. Like most crates, the door only opens one way so make sure you plan for this if you have a specific area to install and you want your pooch to be able to enter/exit at will. The wood finish WILL scratch pretty easily, so put it on something soft while assembling, especially the top. Truly, for the price, you'll be hard pressed to beat this one.
I was so sick of seeing four ugly plastic crates in my den. I bought four of to replace my end tables, and look super nice. All of my friends were aghast at how nice they look. Not only do they save space, but they look great. The finish matches my oak floors. They blend nicely. If you're sick of ugly crates and the space they consume, I recommend these. Besides being easy to put together, the quality of the wood is pretty good. One alteration I did make was to replace the latch catch with a screw. My lab oftentimes leans up against the door, so I used the screw to better secure the stock latch piece. I highly recommend this nice piece of furniture to make your pets feel like a million bucks.
We've used this for over two years now with no issues and we semi-regularly fold it down and put it back up for travel, etc. Our dog uses it daily (though he admittedly isn't "hard" on crates (he doesn't try to get out), and we've had no issues. The handle broke off a while ago, but other than that, it's been invaluable to us and our pup!
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