When Rocky displays body language indicating he will bite us if we get too close (this is all the time for me and occasionally for Thomas), we listen to him so we don't get bit!
I always keep a stick with me so I can move him around; Thomas tends to be a bit more creative as he's not as compulsive as I am about having a stick handy.
Earlier this week, Rocky had started to follow Thomas upstairs. However, he stopped halfway up the stairs and then started posturing. All of the sticks were on the first level. Thomas could have asked me to get Rocky, but instead he improvised: