Update: things with puppy are SOOO much better!! First, whatever hormonally-induced meltdown I was experiencing when I started this thread has worked its way out of my system. I hate the "blame hormones" excuse for anything, but round about the 25th of every month, even at fully post-menopausal age 53, I still cry at everything. Throw a new, drawing-blood, biting puppy into that situation and look out.
Cobber is doing wonderfully! We got past the spaz-demon-alligator-with-fur mode by me deliberately keeping my hands away from him. It sounds simple, but it's amazing how much I wanted to just play with him and that would lead to bites all over. We use exercise poles, chew toys, and time outs when he's having a tantrum/meltdown of his own. AND I found a puppy daycare near work. I drop him off there, all wiggly, squirmy and fully of energy, and I pick him up later all sack-of-potatoes droopy and exhausted. It's great!
Yesterday was our first "hike". I kept it simple and short -- about .5 a mile -- and Cobber got his first taste of moving water at the local creek. He thought that was very fun. The currents are too strong there for swimming, so I'll be trying to find a pond for that.
Anyway, he and I are both still learning a lot, but it's been multiple days now without bite gashes to my flesh, which makes for a much happier puppy and owner.