I had to shorten the neck of the reindeer frame to look more dog-like. I just snipped out one section of the framework in the middle of the neck, slipped the remainder of the head form down inside the remainder of the neck form, bent the remaining framing to connect and wrapped duct tape around the connections. It was pretty sturdy.
Here is how I ran the air hoses to the solenoids
What helps to sell the whole thing is the dog skin. I got hella lucky at the last yard sale of the year when I found this lifelike stuffed pooch for $5!
I am no sculptor and I'm not sure how I would have created a dog head that didn't look sh*tty so I want to thank the woman who sold me her stuffed dog. Honestly, this prop would not have been finished if I hadn't found this stuffy!
So I cut up the stuffy. I cut his head and neck as one piece to help cover the open movement area. The head had a styrofoam form inside that fit right down over the reindeer head frame pretty well. I used zip ties to secure it down as well as the neck (loosely) to the neck framework. The dog feet went on the feet, the butt end on the back and the stomach trimmings on the underside.
What was left of the exposed white framework I wrapped in black plastic and melted with a heat gun. Loose edges were zip-tied to the framework. Remember to leave the belly of your creation wide open for the mech to move.
Then I took Great Stuff and, with gloves on, smoothed it over the plastic. Yes, it's messy but it gives a rough, infected skin type look. I smeared silicone throughout the dog hair to mat it down and hit the 'skin' with flat black paint and red spray blotches.
I used tstraub's 4-button learning controller for the programming and after a lot of trial and error I got the thing to run great on about 25 psi.
FUTURE UPGRADES: I plan on rebuilding this for next season and adding teeth, blood and hopefully a chomping mouth animation.
DURABILITY: It's not as sturdy as store-bought folks! But that's why we are here. You can expect to lose pieces of great stuff 'skin' and some plastic just from the violent shaking. The first night of the haunt it probably triggered 150 times and the head looked funny. I took it home and found that a section of the neck frame right above where the movement-arm connects had snapped. I don't know if that was from stress or when a kid punched the dog (seriously!)
I used JB Weld on the break and wrapped it over and over with duct tape. On the second night it triggered maybe 220 times. The JB Weld repair broke but the duct tape held tight and we survived. One more night to go so I'm letting it ride.
That's all I have for now. Feel free to ask any questions you might have, and give me a 'like' if you like my tut.