Have you played with the dangle parameters on the puppet?
I have the same problems, I find dangle to be pretty difficult. I have created a plant with some leaves and the dangle on them. However they seem to make the plant stem (body) 'fixed' at the point they connect.. and when I play with the dangle parameters in character animator, ramp them up a bit to get more dangle the entire puppet receives some dangle features. Its really difficult to get the layout right because it works really well sometimes and really horribly other times. There just needs to be a simple user interface for photoshop so you can test your layers/naming/layout/mesh in the photoshop app then take them to character animator when you know its actually right.
For the part of the character you want to dangle, create a group that contains the artwork for that part, then create guides for the "Origin" location and one or more "Dangle" locations that will be controlled by the Dangle behavior. Then, name the group with a "+" prefix (e.g., "+leaf") so that its contents can warp independently from its siblings.
If you put "Dangle" in the name of the group (e.g., "+leaf Dangle"), it will create an implicit Dangle handle at the center of the group's bounding box, so you may or may not want that depending on the movement you are trying to produce.
You can also use the Dangle tool in the Puppet panel to add Dangle handles, and just define the structure (group and its contents, but no "Dangle" handles) in Photoshop/Illustrator. That way, you can experiment with Dangle handle locations within Character.
If you'd like to share your artwork, we can suggest how to set it up for dangling.
We're also working on a new video tutorial for Dangle that we'll post when ready.