Thank you both for taking the time to reply, I truly appreciate it.
Carmspack, the molefoam was only in his ear for 4 days, and he didn't notice it at all, so I'm not sure how much damage could have been done. I went back and looked at pictures right before we put it in and the ear looks pretty much exactly the same (I'm attaching before and after pictures). However, I agree that the ear does look odd, and did before the foam. He often sleeps with his ears smushed up against the side of his crate. It's a huge crate and he has plenty of room not to do this, it just seems to be his preferred way of sleeping. Do you think that could have done damage to it? If so, is there any way to prevent this?
As to the pictures, don't get me wrong, he likes being at my Mother in Laws, he just is more on edge there than at home because she has two other dogs (kept separate from him) and he spends most of the time there running around checking on what each person is doing because it's a big house - I thought that attitude might contribute to keeping his ears up. He may also look relaxed in that picture because he was a bit lethargic. When we picked him up he was sick - a full day at the vet later, he had kennel cough (from a vet visit the week before) and a stomach virus. He bounced back personality wise in a day, but he was on a special diet until a couple days ago, and he's still on antibiotics. Now that his stomach is better we will go back to doing an egg every day and continuing with the yogurt. I'll also add in the bone broth. His past eating issues went away once we switched him to Farmina. Now Fresh just didn't work for him.
In the picture from yesterday, he is a bit anxious. His past nervousness largely just went away one day just like it appeared, so I still believe it was mostly a stage that I got nervous about because our past trainer acted so dramatically about it. He's back to ignoring or playing with other dogs now and ignoring when walking past on the leash. The issue we're working on is his guarding when we're sitting in one place like a restaurant. We do it a lot now to practice, and he gets a treat when another dog walks past and he ignores them, and he's doing well with it. That said, he's still pretty alert and edgy during these times, which is why we continue to work at it, and this is when the photo was snapped. I'm really proud of his progress though.
It's funny how pictures appear, because in our home environment, and any environment he's comfortable in (like the park) he's the least sensitive dog I've ever had. He's smart and silly and playful, but I do think he photographs looking sad or sensitive, always has.
As to looking at him critically or disappointedly, this dog is like our golden child. We love every minute with him and he's the subject of almost constant praise, pets, and loving. I'm not disappointed in him because of his ears - it's not like I think he's holding his ears down purposely or something - it's out of his control. It's purely an aesthetic issue separate from my feelings about our boy himself.
Are the ears important? Kind of, yeah. Like most people, we got a GSD for a lot of reasons - trainability, intelligence, and also we like the look of a GSD. If we didn't care about these things, there are plenty of sweet shelter dogs in this city we could have gotten. That said, it's not like we would ever get rid of our boy because his ears didn't go up - they're just ears. We're just confused as to why they aren't and looking for some guidance on that, especially when his siblings' are up, and we know that there's a window of opportunity for gluing/taping. They seemed like they were going to go up a couple weeks ago, and now they don't at all. We don't want to look back and think we could have helped his ears to stand and didn't when we had he chance. There's a whole section in the forum devoted to ears going up so I don't think I'm the only one who feels like this.
I really just want to know what someone with experience with this thinks about the prospect of his ears going up at this age, when is the best time to take action (because I've seen a lot of conflicting info), and if people recommend nose strips over gluing the ears together or vice versa. If anyone can weigh in on these issues I'd be super grateful.
I will definitely add in the vitamin C and bone broth to his diet and see if I can find kefir over the yogurt, thanks for the suggestion. Csmith I'll try some ear massages too, thanks