This have been noticed for thousands of years: people have two impulses (instincts?). One is to be a slave; the other is to be free.
I like to use the metaphors of people being three-quarters dog and one-quarter cat. Dogs are social herd animals and they are only happy in a structured environment where they know their place and what they should do (I think this is why the human race is so prone to fascism and socialism). I saw the Dog Whisperer on TV once, where he claimed it's in a dog's DNA: "Tell me what to do!"
Cats, on the other hand, are independent and usually solitary creatures that notoriously won't listen to anything they're told by people.
The metaphor of "People are dogs" has been around for thousands of years. Usually it's comparing rulers to wolves and people to sheep, because when it comes to following, sheep will follow their leader right off a cliff to their deaths. People, obviously and unfortunately, will do the same: follow their leaders to their deaths. (Parenthetically, I've always been amused by Jesus referring to Herod as a vixen - a female fox.)
Yet, in reality, the masses are closer to dogs, in that they will sacrifice themselves when they think the Herd has been threatened, which is what dogs will do. I read an article in which a researcher watched a pack of wild dogs get into a fight with a lion.
The lion killed 18 of the 30 dogs but the 12 left finished off the lion and ate him.
People are the same way: when they think their Herd has been threatened, they go hysterical and march off to war. Even if the Herd hasn't been threatened. It only matters if they think it is. After all, to the not-very-bright, Perception is Reality.
Unfortunately, the Herd only marches off to war when the leaders convince them they should. This is why Vifredo Pareto (among others before him) said there are two kinds of rulers: the Wolves who use force, and the Foxes who use fraud. Not surprisingly, Pareto defined the masses as Sheep.
Hermann Goering noticed the same thing about people, which is why he said: "Why, of course, the people don't want war...[b]ut, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship...voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."
The pack leaders start wars, use propaganda on the little dogs, the little dogs fall for it, march off to war and die. The only time the big dogs die if they are lose the war. If Lincoln had lost the war he would have gone down in history as a war criminal, and if Hitler had won history would proclaimed him one of the greatest leaders ever.
So it is true that people in many ways are like dogs.
On the other hand they are like cats, although our acting like cats is pretty rare. But there people out there who do want to be free and independent. They're often called traitors and cowards, although in reality it's the self-deluded puppies who are the traitors and cowards...because they don't have the guts to stand up what is right (because they don't know what is right).
One of the things that has most intrigued me about the founding of the U.S. is that it was set up to force people to be free, independent and responsible. The governments were supposed to be tiny, with clearly defined and limited powers.
Unfortunately the government has grown and grown (as it always does), and many people can't even be considered adult dogs anymore. They're more like puppies. Take care of me! I don't want to work, just play! You work and feed me!
Societies have always evolved so that people are forced to grow up. Then the societies always change, because the Wolves and Foxes gain the use the State to claim all the money and power, and then many people turn back into feral puppies, which is what always happens when government gets out of control.
People need both security and freedom. The security can only come from a limited government that protects Life, Liberty and Property. People can then have all they freedom they can handle.
Ultimately the problem lies with the people, with their contradictory desires to be slaves and to be free. You can have one or the other, but you can't have both. Trying to have both is what has always collapsed governments and societies.
"I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it." - Benjamin Franklin.