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If this is responding to antibiotics (which you mentioned in regard to the first episode, but didn't mention in regard to the subsequent ones, so I dunno), than the problem is bacterial. My first guess is that he does not have recurrent infections, at all, but that he still had the initial infection which you get under partial control with meds but have never eradicated.
Very frequently, it will take a six or eight week course of continuous antibiotics to actually address a staph infection appropriately... otherwise, what you see is exactly what you're seeing: what appears to be repeated infections as the one infection flares up and gets knocked back some and flares up again, etc. What is the longest course of antibiotics he has taken?
Very frequently, there can be a link between diet and this crap. Corn and wheat seem to be the major culprits, occasionally flax can be a factor... anything to which the dog is intolerant (and, that could be anything) can be causitive, but if your dog is typical he should be better off if you eliminate corn and wheat, and maybe flax. If not, you go looking further. What are you feeding?
Anything aside from the itchy, bumpy back? Chewing/licking at feet? Ear infections?
Has anyone suggested a culture to see what organisms are present on his skin?