Questions/troubles with rigging

I have used blender for a while on and off again (seem to wander away as i get stuck =( ). But now that i am back i am making progress and have reached the stage of rigging for my character, while he isn’t perfect i would like to finally begin actually animating as i feel i have just been modeling the whole time. I have tried rigging before and my common problem is that i have the main spine bone and then when i go to extrude out from it for the legs, they never stay connected to the main bone. Is this just a problem that is fixed later on in the process? Have never gotten into weight painting or things like that.

Any tips/tutorials would be great, would like to get the basics down before i try and tackle a complicated rig (IK chains, weight paint etc)

Thanks again, for the character i am trying to rig, heres a picture (i know the picture has no eyes or ears but those are almost done now): http://www.freewebs.com/tuckersanimation/

thanks again

oh sorry forgot to say that its not the terrible picture on the very top (that was my first attempt) have been teaching myself how to use blender along with some basic tutorials, have no real formal education or training in animation yet, hoping to change that soonish :o