Draw a diagram of Eli’s walking pattern.
First Eli walked
feet forward to get out the door.
Then Eli walked
feet forward to get to the mailbox.
Then he turned around and walked
feet back to his dog.
How far has he walked?
This is asking about how many feet he has walked in total. You do not need to think about direction.
How far from the house is he now?
First, Eli walked
feet away from the house. Then he walked feet back toward his house.