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Advice from a trainer:

This actually doesn't sound like aggression.  This sounds like you aren't warning your dog, when she is asleep on the couch, that  you are about to sit down next to her, which in turn startles her.  Before she actually nipped at your gf, she was growling...letting you know that she didn't appreciate your lack of communication or warning.  Being that you have continuously ignored her warnings, she has stepped up (escalated) the warning by nipping (a nip is different than a bite; the intention of a nip is to scare off not attack).  

You need to warn her by saying her name somewhat loudly or putting your hand in front of her nose so she can smell you, prior to sitting down next to her when she's asleep.

Should you continue to not warn her to your prescense and actions, this behavior is likely to escalte and she is likely to lose trust in you which WILL set off other issues.

Liz (Professional Dog Trainer) and Lilly (Hearing Service Dog, Therapy Dog; dually certified)
 
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