I’ve been getting a lot of questions about what Bud meant when he said to “push you dog” and how to go about teaching them to be handled this way.
One of the problems is that the word “push” means many different things to livestock people. A dog with a lot of “push” usually means a dog that is aggressive and is willing to bite stock. People also call a dog driving stock in front of the handler, “pushing the stock.”
What Bud meant when he talked about teaching a dog to be pushed is instead of scolding or calling him off or downing your dog that is in the wrong place or over-pressuring, he would just take that place away from the dog. In other words he would just walk, (or ride his horse or motor bike, etc.) to the spot and literally take that area away from the dog. He would never say anything or indicate that the dog was doing anything wrong, his presence just forced the dog to move to another spot to work. Dogs quickly learned to give ground when they saw him coming. At this point you can put a command to the action. This is how you teach a dog to be pushed.
Bud wanted his dogs to be “on the stock” all the time, not sent to do a specific thing then come back to the handler and wait to be sent again. Bud called those yo-yo dogs. In the country where we worked and the miles our dogs had to travel in a day, they would not have been physically able to do this. They needed to learn to read the stock, anticipate a problem, and be in the right place to correct it before it got too big. Bud’s philosophy was, “It’s up to the dogs to drive the stock, and I will help them,” not “I’m going to drive the stock, and the dogs will help me.”