Right now, though, she's got to treat him like a nitwit.
Panel 1: We're at the Obedience School today; the instructor is telling John and some other pet owners the first tool in obedience training is praise.
Panel 2: Praise, you see, is of utmost importance; she cannot stress this enough.
Panel 3: After class, John asks Elly how she thought they did.
Panel 4: She pats him on the head like a five year old and says "You were wonderful, honey, just wonderful." Being thought of as a little boy being patronized by his Mommy unmans John.
Summary: I get the distinct impression she's doing this because he's being trained to do something she doesn't agree with: training Farley by supplying him with positive reinforcement instead of good, time-tested, Fooby hostility and screaming.