Speaking helps tremendously. Don't worry about making mistakes when you speak to your dog or to yourself. The value in this is not so much the correctness of what you're saying but in the practice you gain from having to quickly mentally rephrase a thought to align with whatever level your vocabulary is at. It teaches you to quickly think of different ways to say the same thing. That is an invaluable skill for a language learner.
AURA DIONE - FRIENDS - AUF DEUTSCH! (ft. Rock Mafia) by DieLochis - YouTube