Okay I have it raised to the top, not the shorter 8 inches. My how my memory has faded. Anyway you can only adjust it from the 8" height to the 12" although it seems higher. You adjust it simply by turning the top portion around and unless they have made it differently the top portion does not lock on and if Dakota is smart enough, she may just be able to flip the top off and eat all 20lbs of food (I know my dogs would) However if you don't see that as a problem I sat on the thing and bounced around on it and it did not collapse. I have had it for at least 3 years and its never once collapsed during everyday use (two pits diving in for their food twice a day and licking the metal off the bowls type everyday use) Hope that helps in your decision.