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Fix for the "slim diamond" folding problem.
on January 22, 2015
Our Maltese weighs in at about 12 pounds - he's something of a bruiser. We occasionally need to leave him at home for short periods of time and Sam has separation anxiety - he scratches doors and door mouldings if we leave him loose. We got one of these 4 panel pens instead of locking him up in a crate and thought we'd found the perfect solution, but after a few times left in the pen Sam learned how to push on the corner causing the pen to change from a square to a slim diamond shape. Twice he got pinned in the diamond and once he succeeded in tipping it over and crawling out from underneath. We then had to block the pen in with some fairly heavy items so he couldn't move it and form the diamond shape. I've read other reviews here complaining of the same issue. To me, the pen's convenience is lost when one has to place heavy items around it so that a rambunctious pup can't foil it. The manufacturer should make corner brackets of some kind to prevent the folding of the pen by the pup but it appears they don't and I couldn't find brackets that would fit easily.
I have, however, found a solution that I'll pass along here. The items used are inexpensive, OK looking and easily produced by anyone with a little DIY experience. I decided to try adding two flat bars criss-crossed at the top of the pen and held in place by the "Pins" used to join the walls. I used some flat vinyl screen moulding from Home Depot that is 3/4" wide and 8' long. Description is "1/4 x 3/4 x8 PVC 6578 White". With the pen squared up using a measuring tape the pins are approximately 48 3/4" apart diagonally. You'll need two 8' pieces of this moulding as the overall length of each one will be about 50" long. With the 50" pieces cut and 1/2" holes drilled 48 3/4" apart at each end, you're ready to remove the corner "pins" from the pen one at a time and mount the crossmember pieces at the top. The photos attached will show this simple operation.
The pen is now rigid and Sam can't fold it into the diamond shape. He can still push the pen around on a smooth floor but I'm ok with that - we have no stairs or anything. If I want to keep him in one spot, I can just put the pen on a carpet and he's unable to move it much.
If you have the "diamond" problem, try this quick fix. It'll do until the manufacturer addresses the problem with some proper removable corner brackets. The pen is wonderful otherwise.