Do dogs really obey when we tell them something? Hardly. If they did, thousands of dog trainers - I like to call them dog teachers - would be out of a job. Surely, the relationship between a dog and a human(s) can be very complex and nuanced, and all of the trainers with whom I've spoken note this and this is what makes their job exasperating and challenging.
While the studies comparing dogs with wolves surely are interesting, and they do highlight some differences between the few dogs and the wolves who were studied in specific conditions of captivity, the sweeping conclusions that are drawn are too premature for me. There isn't compelling evidence that dogs are dumb-downed wolves, nor that they typically behave this way (see also Mark Derr's book referenced above and Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods' book called The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs Are Smarter than You Think in which they stress that dogs "are not universally dumber than wolves" (p. 60).
The studies do, however, open the door for further and more detailed investigations and that's what scientific research is all about. So, let's do the work before concluding that dogs and wolves (and other species, for that matter) do or don't do this or that. I bet there are many surprises in store. And, individual variations in behavior among members of the same species are incredibly interesting. They're not noise in the system, but rather essential to understand.