The rig i have made is fairly simple.
All the legs have ONLY ikHandles. no FK ones. This seems to be the noral way of doing quadrupeds.
For the back feet, i just threw a normal ikHandle on. But with my particular leg dimensions, i can see that i will need an extra something to make the foot react more realisticly.
The feet have a heel, a ball and a toe joint. Like a human rig. In case i would need toe movement.
I only included that because it is simple to make, and though i doubt ill use it, it cant hurt.
The head has a neck, head, two ears and one jaw joint.
I should have made the neck a little bit longer considering the way dogs sway their head up and down to create extra momentum while running.
So if i had more joints in the neck the motion could have been made more fluent.
The ears should also get a bit more attention. A lot of a dog/wolfs emotion is displayed through the ears. So if i needed to fold them back and forth, it will need to look good!
Apart from the incredibly frustrating back leg setup, the spine and tail was the worst.
I struggled a good while before i understood how spline iks work.
The spine could also have been a bit more complex.
If this would have been an aim for a proper rig, the spine wouldnt be good enough. I only have one cluster in each end of both the spine and the tail. +the twst attribute.
This basically means limited movement in a place that might be important in making the dog look natural.
The tail itself isnt moving at all. I could not figure out how to make a good controller to make the tail swing from side to side AND up and down. The tail would also need a few more joints. At least make it bend in more areas.
The control curves i made are pretty standard. Most are made from nurbs curves so they dont show up on renders. For the pole vectors i used "invisible" polygon geometry that also can only be viewed within maya. And i made all four different, because i thought they would all be on the inside of the wolf's leg, and thereby easily end up on top of each other, making them harder to grab.
I made some original control curves as well.
For the jaw i created a jaw looking curve that u simply rotate in whatever axis you want, and the jawJOINT will react perfectly.
For the ears i made curves shaped like ears and a bit bigger that the mesh ears, just to make them easier to grab.
The foot control i made in the shape of a dog paw. The base controls the whole foot, while the little toe symbols control... just the toes.
I also added something i havent actually seen on any other quadrueds. Which is a parent to both sets of legs.
I made one controlcurve for both the front feet, and one for both the back feet.
I did this because when four legged creatures run, they roughly move the back feet the same, and the front feet the same. with a slight difference though.
I figured it would be easiler to animate if i made this curve that animates two at a time, get the timing right, and then adjust the difference with the individual foot controls.
I did not bother with a reverse foot control. Its easy to make, but i did not need to test anything out about it, because i know pretty well how they work, and im not even sure i will have any use for it on an imporved version of this rig.