Updated: Sep 15
The marker is the thing you use to let the dog know they have done something right. For hearing dogs this can be simply saying something like "good dog" or using a clicker. With Valko I don't have this option due to her lack of hearing. So I use the thumbs up sign. Now I still say "good girl" in a happy tone, along with the thumbs up, because even though she can't hear it she can read my body language and by saying it just like you would with a hearing dog your face will show that you are pleased.
To create the marker I get her attention, give her the thumbs up sign while looking pleased and saying good girl. Then immediately give her a high value treat. Chicken in her case.
I repeat this many times so that the thumbs up equals a rewarding/pleasurable experience.
In the beginging i try to never give the thumbs up without rewarding her.
Next when I move on to trainng as she does something correct that I've asked for the thumbs up will mark that for her. In the same way a clicker does for a hearing dog.